Barbara Turf, former CEO and President of Crate and Barrel, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on Saturday, July 12. She was 71-years-old.
"Barbara Turf’s impeccable eye for style, trend and design defined the merchandising and marketing vision of Crate and Barrel," said current CEO Sascha Bopp. "She touched the lives of thousands of associates and developed invaluable relationships with vendors across the globe. Crate and Barrel would not be the company it is today without Barbara’s leadership, influence and inspiration. She will be missed dearly."
Turf was most recently serving on the Crate and Barrel Board of Directors, after retiring from her CEO and presidential duties in 2012.
Turf's association with Crate and Barrel first began in 1967 when she was hired by company founders Gordon and Carole Segal at the first Crate and Barrel store in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. She took a summer job as a part-time sales associate and left her job as a teacher soon after to join the company full-time.
Her early years were spent opening and managing stores as the company began to grow. She was instrumental in hiring and mentoring the future leaders of the company. In 1974, Turf joined the corporate headquarters to oversee stores and personnel.
Named Director of Merchandising and Marketing in 1978, Turf oversaw the development of the company’s merchandise collection, distinctive merchandising style and marketing voice. She was promoted to Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing in 1993.
In January 1996, Turf was appointed President of Crate and Barrel and joined then CEO Gordon Segal in determining the company’s long-term strategic development. During her tenure as President, she championed the development of CB2 and fostered the company’s relationship with The Land of Nod. In 1998, Crate and Barrel became part of the Otto Group of Hamburg, Germany, to enhance operations and allow for new growth.
Turf then took to the helm of the company in 2008 after Segal retired, and retired herself four years later.
Turf is survived by her husband of 40 years, Robert Turf, three children and two grandchildren. Memorial services are pending.