West Elm’s new president, Universal and Brown Jordan grow leadership teams and more

by Jacob Solomon Jan 31, 2023 News
West Elm’s new president, Universal and Brown Jordan grow leadership teams and more

A man goes on a journey or a stranger comes into town is one of the stories in literature. The top of the year is the same in the design industry as it is in other industries. Business of Home compiles arrivals and departures in design, manufacturing, media and more.

To the Trade

Luxury outdoor furniture brand Brown Jordan announced a handful of new hires. Eloise Goldman is now vice president of marketing, having previously led Cambria’s public relations, influencer marketing and retail for six years, as well as serving as vice president of PR and special events for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for 18 years. Sean Gillespie joined Brown Jordan as director of A&D for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, after previously working for Made Goods and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams as a manager for regional and key accounts. Mark Walker, who most recently worked at Made Goods, was appointed the New York showroom manager at Brown Jordan’s new flagship space in the New York Design Center.

The Pennsylvania-based wholesale lighting company announced a new CEO. He rose through the ranks to become the company's chief operating officer, where he supported operational and strategic growth initiatives, enhanced the customer experience and managed the company's global supply chain. He will assume day-to-day leadership of the company in his new role.

Nicole Ciminera was named the new U.S. marketing manager. Ciminera worked as a senior account manager for Bde&co and as a senior corporate communications officer for the Teachers Federal Credit Union.

Gary Searle was appointed as executive vice president. Prior to joining Kravet, Searle was the vice president of global sales and merchandising for St. Leger & Viney, a South African fabric company. He will be in charge of the brand's business in the U.S.

At 1:00 p.m., there will be a public event. Justine Clay will host a workshop on identifying and achieving goals. Attendees will gain tools to improve personal fulfillment and income if they cultivate the right mindset, habits and actions. For BOH Insiders, there are bi-weekly workshops.

Paul Cleary was named president and chief executive officer of the company. Prior to joining the company, he served as senior vice president of the health care market at Mohawk Group for more than 15 years. He will focus on improving the company's goals for innovation, sustainable and collaboration.

Molly Brennan was hired as sales director for the lighting and products division. Brennan has worked in luxury companies with American and European brands. Brennan is based in Hudson, New York, and will lead Workstead's efforts to build on its multichannel sales and expand business development.

Neil MacKenzie will be the senior vice president of marketing and Shannon Lookabill will be the vice president of product development. He has more than 20 years of marketing experience with both B2B and B2C clients and most recently served as the vice president of marketing for Universal, where he worked on collaborations with interior design and lifestyle brands. He will lead Universal's website, social media and email marketing in his new role. Lookabill created a virtual product development process that allowed for continuous manufacturing of new designs during COVID. Lookabill will lead the direction of the company's case goods and upholstery lines, which will translate home trends into products for retail and interior designers.

Jim Roberts brings over 20 years of experience in sales and business development to his new role as vice president of sales for the Western United States. Roberts will work on increasing regional sales in his new role.

Kevin McVey joined the company as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. McVey joined the company from MillerKnoll, where he was the senior vice president of finance and Americas. McVey will report to John McPhee and help the company hit its goals.

The fine art auction house promoted the CEO to the position. Quinlan has over 25 years of experience in private banking, wealth management and fine art appraisals, and has held leadership roles at J.P. Morgan Private Bank and Gurr. Quinlan will be responsible for strategy and day to day operations. The company opened an office in Miami, where Elizabeth Rader will lead the team and serve as a liaison to the salesrooms in the US. Prior to heading the company's Naples office, he had experience in developing relationships with private collectors, financial institutions, trust and estate firms.

Design & Architecture

Minneapolis-based architecture and design firm Nelson Worldwide appointed Brad Ewing as regional practice leader of the civic, community, justice and education practice. Ewing brings experience in architecture, project management, building design and space planning, most recently serving as a senior project manager and architect at Orlando-based firm Dewberry. In his new role, Ewing will provide oversight and collaborate with national and regional leadership to create opportunities for Nelson’s growth. Katie Pass-Brinker also joined Nelson Worldwide as design leader of hospitality. With over 15 years of experience in hospitality, she led and managed design teams at firms like Philadelphia-based Daroff Design. In her new role, Pass-Brinker will work closely with the interior design team to create and implement high-level design and provide direction and mentorship from concept through construction.

Several key team members have been promoted. The principals were Brian Pinkett, Todd Riley, William Mungall, Suzanne Evans She, and Mark Savary. In 1994 Pinkett joined LDG as the fifth architect, shepherding growth, instituting a mentorship program and establishing a committee system. In his new role, Riley will help guide the firm in decision making. Mungall has been with LDG for 22 years and is the company's green committee chair. Evans Shepela joined LDG 18 years ago and is excited to continue designing homes for clients. LDG's warm culture and environment is something Savary values. Kern has been involved in the growth of the firm over the past 16 years. Maak joined LDG in 2001 and is currently working on a commercial project.

FitzGerald is an architecture and planning firm based in Chicago. An associate at New York–based architecture and planning firm Perkins Eastman, Milanovic has 20 years of experience in workplace, mixed-use residential and senior living design. Milanovich will lead the firm's workplace practice with the help of the interior design director.

Bob Weis is the leader of Gensler's global Immersive Experience Design. Weis has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and has worked on projects such as AT&T's Dallas headquarters, which features ambient music, recordings of regional birds and interactive art. Weis will work with Gensler to bring more sensory experiences into future projects. Selin Ashaboglu most recently worked at New York-based public relations company M18 as an associate director of real estate.

Houston-based Laura U Design Collective has a new director. For the past three years, Strasburg has worked with the firm as a project manager, having previously held architecture and design roles.

Two new firms are taking over as a result of the dissolution of the old one. John Ike, Carl Baker, and Tyler Velten are the leaders of the Oakland, California-based Ike Baker Velten. The division of their firm was announced last summer after 33 years together. While Velten worked at IKB for seven years as a designer, Baker served as principal at IKB for twelve years. In their new roles as co-owners, they will focus on quality craft and design.

Molly O'Keefe was appointed as principal of the company. In addition to her 15 years of experience in management and client services, O'Keefe has been with the company for the past five years, working her way up to the position of director. O'Keefe will lead the company's business development team in her new role.

Media & PR

New York–based media company Sandow announced that Margaux Caniato will leave her role as interim chief marketing officer. For the past seven months, Caniato led the company’s rebranding efforts and built partnerships with design brands to provide support through performance marketing, creative and production services, and digital marketing tools. Prior to working at Sandow, Caniato served as an external designer partnership manager at Target, and the principal and chief brand officer for Veeder, Perman + Caniato, a marketing communications agency in New York.

Jane Ivana Hong-Gaffney was appointed as senior director. Hong-Gaffney has more than 15 years of experience in the design, architecture, fashion and lifestyle industries in New York and Paris.

Christie Kuehner Tonnessen is leaving her position as brand director at Schumacher to launch Tonnessen Studio, a social media, marketing and content consulting firm. Tonnessen has experience working with interior designers, architects and clients in the fashion and home industries to maximize their digital impact.

Retail & Manufacturing

Williams-Sonoma Inc. named Day Kornbluth president of the company’s Brooklyn-based West Elm brand. Kornbluth most recently served as global brand president at Ralph Lauren Home and has held roles at industry companies including One Kings Lane and RH. Kornbluth will replace Alex Bellos and help expand West Elm’s brand reach in her new position.

The president of AICO/Amini Innovation Corp. was promoted to president. He has been with AICO for 12 years and most recently was the executive vice president.

The senior vice president of brand and marketing has been appointed. He has 15 years of experience in creative and large-scale consumer campaigns and brand strategy.

The general manager and vice president of the RuggableX branch has been named. Prior to founding The Inside, a direct-to-consumer home brand that was acquired by Havenly in February 2022, he was a senior business analyst at One Kings Lane.

Laurie was named chief marketing officer for North and Central America. Over 30 years of experience in marketing and communications has led to the integration of nine independent brands into one brand. She will serve as a member of the executive committee in her new role.

Kohler Co. appointed Laura Kohler as the company's first chief sustainable and diversity officer. Kohler has been with Kohler Co. for 30 years and most recently served as the senior vice president of human resources, stewardship and sustainable living. Kohler is going to lead a team of experts and help the company deliver on its strategy.

Industry Organizations

The Decorative Furnishings Association announced its leadership team, welcoming Meredith Xavier as president and Jillian O’Neill as vice president. The co-founder of the Créateurs Design Awards and Houston-based luxury retail company The Ligné Group, Xavier served as vice president under Stephane Silverman. North Carolina–based interior designer Jillian O’Neill brings several years of experience with owning her own firm and hand-crafted furnishings collection, and will serve alongside Xavier.

The organization for women named its board of directors. Senior director of licensing and special projects of Hooker Furnishings Emily Boyst was elected WithIt president, and senior vice president of sales and marketing at SEI Furniture was elected vice president and presidentelect. Senior director of sales at Caracole Jessica Norby was named vice president and vice president of marketing at International Market Centers. Bonnie Wallace will be operations manager at IHFRA, and the secretary will be senior credit and accounts receivable manager of Liberty Furniture.

Dudley Moore Jr. is the new president of the Bienenstock Furniture Library's board of directors.

The image is from josefmicic/Adobe stock.