As autumn draws to a close, some longtime industry vets are being promoted, while others step away from their roles to start new chapters. Read on for Business of Home’s monthly roundup of arrivals and departures in design, manufacturing, media and more.
To the Trade
Kravet announced the departure of Kim Fasting Berg and Beth Greene, respectively the company’s former CMO and executive vice president of marketing and strategic branding. Prior to joining Kravet, Fasting Berg was the head of marketing at Condé Nast; she is returning to luxury fashion, joining WME Fashion as executive vice president of marketing. After 30 years at Kravet, Greene plans to focus on branding, strategy and marketing within the home and interior design industry.
New York–based trimmings and textile brand Samuel & Sons promoted Milton De Paul to executive creative director and Marisa Gutmacher to vice president of design. De Paul joined the company as art director in 2015 and helped grow the brand over the past seven years. Gutmacher has been with the company for eight years, most recently serving as executive director of design, creating several trimming collections for the Samuel & Sons Design Studio.
Montana-based digital textile printing studio and manufacturer Western Sensibility welcomed Leana Becker as chief creative officer. Most recently the director of interior design for Kelly Wearstler, Becker brings decades of experience in hospitality, residential and commercial, and luxury design. In her new role, Becker will focus on growing the company’s roster of interior design clients and bespoke white label projects.
Design & Architecture
California-based multidisciplinary architecture and design firm MBH Architects welcomed Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz as business development manager in New York. Ortiz has experience in print design and retail visual merchandising, most recently as president of Collaborative Design Strategies. In her new role, she will focus on developing and managing regional business opportunities in luxury residential, retail, restaurant and hospitality projects.
Boston- and New York–based architecture and planning firm SGA announced Maren Reepmeyer as vice president. Reepmeyer brings more than 20 years of experience in adaptive reuse and revitalization, having worked with Boston-based firm CBT Architects for 10 years, including serving as their director of adaptive design.
New York architecture and design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates welcomed three new partners: longtime collaborators Bobby Young, Colin Martin and Silvia Maffei. Young brings more than 25 years of experience in high-end residential and retail projects, and has managed prominent facade and full-floor renovations in Manhattan since joining the firm in 2007. Martin brings leadership to the studio’s residential, retail and hospitality projects, and has worked on noteworthy projects including Saks Fifth Avenue, the Edition hotel in Istanbul and the Row NYC hotel. Maffei has developed projects for J Brand, La Perla, Brioni, and Elena Mirò flagship boutiques in Italy and Moscow since joining the firm in 2010.
U.S.- and Canada-based interior design firm Lemay+Escobar Architecture welcomed Christine Scholtz as the studio lead in New York. With expertise in contract, residential, retail and hospitality design, Scholtz has worked at architecture and planning firms including Gensler and Rockwell Group, holding positions as both a project and design director.
Maryland-based residential architecture and interior design firm Purple Cherry Architects announced two senior associate hires: Brian Milbury as senior associate and Peter Guidetti as lead design architect and senior associate. Milbury has nearly 30 years of experience in custom residential architecture, joining the team after owning a Chicago-based architecture practice for two decades, during which he oversaw home design and construction. Guidetti brings more than 25 years of experience in architecture and design, and looks forward to working on the firm’s current residential projects.
Media & PR
Online architecture and design publication Dezeen appointed Benedict Hobson and Wai Shin Li as co-CEOs after more than 11 years of working together at Dezeen. Hobson was chief content officer and led Dezeen’s in-house creative studio for six years, overseeing the company’s editorial, video and social media output. Li was head of sales and marketing before being appointed as chief revenue officer in 2018, where he led Dezeen’s revenue-generating teams, including launching and growing Dezeen Awards.
Lifestyle magazine Frederic announced Tori Mellott as style director. Mellott brings more than 20 years of experience in interior design journalism, content creation and social media strategy, previously holding editorial positions at House Beautiful, Elle Decor and Domino, most recently serving as style director at Schumacher. In her new role, Mellott will produce interior design and home product stories for both print and digital, as well as direct and oversee all of Frederic’s social media accounts.
New York–based communications and digital marketing agency UpSpring welcomed Kristen Brennand as communications director. Brennand joins the company with experience in the public relations industry, most recently serving as an associate director at Los Angeles–based Jennifer Bett Communications. In her new role, Brennand’s client roster will focus on residential and B2B design and architecture firms, as well as B2C product brands.
Retail & Manufacturing
Kitchen and bath manufacturer Kohler Co. elected David Kohler as chair of the board of directors and executive committee, following the passing of executive chairman Herbert V. Kohler Jr. As the current president and CEO, Kohler is responsible for the three business groups of Kohler Co.—kitchen and bath, power and hospitality—and is the fourth generation of the family to lead the company since its inception in 1873, serving for more than 31 years. Under his leadership, the company surpassed $8 billion in annual revenues in 2021, became the number-one kitchen and bath brand in the U.S. and China, and broke into the smart home space.
German kitchen manufacturing company Blanco appointed Diana Windsor as senior vice president of sales for North America. Windsor brings more than 13 years of sales and management experience in the plumbing industry, holding senior leadership roles at wholesale building materials brand Watts Water Technologies and Kohler. In her new role, Windsor will lead all strategic and operative market activities for Blanco, with a primary focus on sustainable market growth.
Oregon-based lighting and homeware retailer Schoolhouse announced president Sara Fritsch will leave the company. Serving the company for seven years, Fritsch also held roles as the director of product and vice president of product, marketing, brand, digital and sales, where she helped navigate the company’s integration with Food52 and Dansk in 2022. Fritsch will continue to tap into her passion for home with the launch of Studio Tigress, which will focus on expanding the definition of home by providing design thinking and leadership into other communities.
The International Society of Furniture Designers announced the retirement of executive director John Conrad, who will be replaced by industry veteran David Blair. Conrad was a part of the ISFD for more than 13 years as a board member, vice president, president and finally as its executive director. He initiated new programs like the Innovation + Design competition and exhibition and was instrumental in rebranding the organization as an international-facing company. The board unanimously chose Blair to serve as the next executive director, having more than 30 years of marketing and advertising experience working with furniture companies, furniture industry associations and designers. Most recently serving as the president of New York–based DBR Group, Blair’s first order of business will be to oversee next spring’s Innovation + Design exhibition.
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