comings & goings | Mar 27, 2023 |
Thibaut appoints a CMO, Hooker Furnishings adds an executive to oversee new brand and more

The new season makes space for new creative dynamics across the industry, bringing exciting promotions and newly created positions. Read on for BOH’s monthly roundup of arrivals and departures in design, manufacturing, media and more.

To the Trade
Dallas-based design group Perennials and Sutherland announced Christian Leard as chief executive officer. Leard comes to Perennials and Sutherland from a role as president of Levolor—a custom window treatment brand owned by Hunter Douglas—with a background in sales and marketing. Leard’s current focus is on growth and operations, but he will likely be tasked with preparing the company for an eventual sale. As part of the transition, Ann Sutherland has shifted to chief creative director, while co-founder David Sutherland will remain on in a senior advisory role.

Martinsville, Virginia–based Hooker Furnishings announced Becky Weber as the executive director of M, the company’s new modern lifestyle furniture brand. Weber has more than 30 years of experience with Crate & Barrel in a variety of sales, merchandising and product development roles, most recently serving as the divisional merchandise manager responsible for product development of furniture and decor. In her new role, Weber will develop a modern assortment to add to the company’s product portfolio.

New Jersey–based tile and stone producer Artistic Tile appointed Tom Harty to a newly created position as technical director. With more than two decades of experience in sales, management and technical operations within the natural stone and tile industry, Harty previously worked at New York–based building materials wholesaler Stone Source for 24 years as the director of procurement. In his new role, Harty will utilize his background in material handling, procurement and quality control assurance to strengthen Artistic Tile’s brand operations and positioning.

Austin-based building products brand Kova welcomed Gray Dougherty as director of architecture. Dougherty brings more than a decade of architectural experience to his new role, previously serving as the principal of his own California-based firm Dougherty + Dougherty Architects for eight years before working at architecture firm Gensler’s San Francisco studio as the studio director and senior associate. In his new role, Doughterty will lead Kova’s Connect team to collaboratively identify, develop and deliver products.

Chicago-based fine art auction house and firm Hindman announced Caroline Baker Smith as senior director of trusts, estates and private clients in its New York office. Smith has over a decade of auction industry experience, most recently serving as the vice president of business development and manager of trusts, estates and appraisals at luxury British auction house Christie’s. In her new role, Smith will work with the appraisals division, the company’s four additional salesrooms and New York managing director Gemma Sudlow to expand the firm’s presence throughout the Northeast.

Multifunctional furnishings company Resource Furniture promoted seven employees across multiple departments, expanding its internal leadership team. With over 13 years at Resource Furniture, Challie Stillman will serve as the vice president of marketing and brand strategy, where she will home in on brand awareness and customer experience, and continue to oversee the marketing department, public relations efforts and showroom design. Christine Salzer, who has evolved from sales consultant to executive leadership over the course of 12 years, will be the vice president of sales, overseeing all showroom managers and sales teams to increase revenue and growth opportunities. Pat Pujols will serve as vice president of finance and operations, utilizing her seven years of experience with the company to manage both the finance and operations departments. Additional promotions include Pieter Depreeuw as director of project management and technical services, Samantha Cunningham to director of operations and Massimo Zambon as controller. Resource Furniture also welcomed Brian Ricci as director of people and culture, a newly created role that oversees hiring, onboarding, internal communication structures, conducting employee surveys and planning team-building events.

Wallpaper company Thibaut announced Alexandra O’Hare as chief marketing officer. An industry veteran, O’Hare brings over a decade of experience in the design industry to her new role, most recently serving as the vice president of marketing and interior design for Hooker Furnishings. Before her career at Hooker, she served in global account and brand management roles for Bernhardt and Baker Furniture, overseeing product development, showroom merchandising, life-cycle management and focused launch plans. In her new role, O’Hare will lead Thibaut’s marketing, creative and design teams.

Design & Architecture
Houston-based firm Benjamin Johnston Design promoted Paola Neri to director of interiors and Greg Roffino to director. Neri spent her early career in her hometown in Cochabamba, Bolivia, working in residential, hospitality and landscape design, and got her masters of interior design in Florence, Italy, before moving to the United States. She has been with Benjamin Johnston Design since 2017, and Neri will lead a team of interior designers and collaborate with her architecture colleagues in her new role. Roffino brings over a decade of experience in residential design to his new role, previously working with architecture and planning firms like Houston-based Curtis & Windham. As director of Benjamin Johnston Design, Roffino will continue to oversee a wide range of projects spanning construction, renovation and historical preservation, while leading a team of designers and associates.

Houston-based interior design firm Nina Magon Studio opened a location in San Francisco, announcing Paulina Gómez as assistant operations manager and senior designer of the new studio. Gomez previously served as an account executive at advertising company BC México in Monterrey, Mexico, before training under interior designer Nina Magon for five years. In her new role, Gomez will lead the design and operations team in the Bay Area.

Maryland-based design firm Jamie Merida Interiors welcomed Sophie Pyle Zeigler as its new marketing and PR coordinator. With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, Zeigler most recently ran her own Washington, D.C.–based marketing firm Rosé Media for 10 years, working with clients like home furnishings store Kellogg Collection, online furniture wholesaler Uttermost and furniture manufacturer Sarreid.

Hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates promoted Yulia Bekar to associate at the Los Angeles studio. With a decade of experience at HBA, Bekar’s project history includes hotels, resorts and luxury residential developments across the U.S. and internationally. In her new role, she will oversee a project’s life cycle, cultivating long-term relationships and ensuring design integrity.

Architecture and planning firm Gensler announced Emily Cones-Browne as public relations and communications leader for the New York office. Cones-Browne brings previous experience in PR to her new role, most recently as global public relations officer at Brooklyn-based architecture and planning firm Bjarke Ingels Group and as associate communications director for UpSpring PR. Her background also includes roles with Clodagh Design and several Australian publications, such as Art Collector, Luxury Travel Magazine and Art Edit.

Minneapolis-based architecture and design firm Nelson Worldwide appointed two new senior project managers: Karen Pelzer for hospitality and Aaron Nacey for civic, community, justice and education. Pelzer led and managed design teams for over a decade at Daroff Design and Loews Hotels, and helped develop the hospitality design curriculum at Drexel University, teaching restaurant design and full-service boutique hotel design courses. In her new role, Pelzer will guide and support the hospitality team. Nacey has more than 25 years of experience in architecture, engineering, construction and business, most recently co-founding Axiom Architecture firm and serving as the senior project manager. In his new role, Nacey will collaborate with the client, design and contracting teams to navigate project scopes, schedules and budgets from ideation to implementation.

International architecture and design firm MG2 promoted three employees to principal in the Seattle office: Roy Hague, Amy Hart and Mitch Pride. With over 20 years in the profession, Hague will serve as the principal of the program design studio, focusing on designing creative prototypes for established and emerging markets, including the electric vehicle and e-commerce sectors. Hart will be the principal of client programs with a focus on Costco Business Centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, bringing over 15 years of experience. Pride’s portfolio includes projects like Tommy Bahama, Hush Puppies and Brilliant Earth, and he will serve as the principal of consumer experiences, responsible for turning retail concepts into solutions.

Boston- and New York–based architecture and planning firm SGA announced Lauren Gauthier as director of architecture for the academic team. Gauthier brings more than 10 years of architecture and design experience to her new role, previously working at architecture firms on academic projects including Snell Experiential Library at Northeastern University, Sterling Chemistry Lab at Yale University, and Middlesex School’s theater and performing arts center.

Event production company Emerald promoted Keisha Byrd to brand leader of Boutique Design New York and Rachel Long to brand leader of HD Expo + Conference. For the past nine years, Byrd has led Boutique Design’s branded conferences and events as part of BDNY’s inaugural team, playing an essential role in overseeing and planning the Hospitality Design and Boutique Design portfolios of media and networking events. Long spent 25 years with HD as an editor and on the HD Expo + Conference launch team, and has served as the vice president of content of the design group since 2019. In their new roles, Byrd and Long will oversee the day-to-day operations for their respective brands and produce events.

Media & PR
International publishing company Rizzoli announced the retirement of Pam Sommers, the executive director of publicity. After previously serving as publicity manager at publishing brand Taschen, Sommers was with Rizzoli for more than 20 years, handing national publicity campaigns for about 50 lead titles a year and managing a staff responsible for almost 240 books a year, which were distributed in Italian, French and English. Sommers served as the executive director of publicity since 2002, and will travel and do freelance publicity during her retirement. Jessica Napp will serve as the new director of publicity and has been with the company for almost 16 years, most recently serving as the associate director of publicity for the past eleven years. Napp oversaw and executed the publicity campaigns for the New York Times best-selling books Selfish by Kim Kardashian, The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book and America’s Great Hiking Trails.

California-based architecture and design publication Dwell announced Samantha Weiss-Hills as managing commerce editor, Liz Buxton as commerce content director, Julia Stevens as style editor and Kenya Foy as senior staff writer. Weiss-Hills and Buxton will continue to oversee Domino’s growing shopping vertical, and Stevens will continue to serve as Domino’s style editor. Foy will focus exclusively on Dwell, while Stevens will oversee Dwell’s market pages.

Retail & Manufacturing
Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. named Lauren Santo Domingo as its first-ever artistic director for the home category. The co-founder and chief brand officer of luxury fashion platform Moda Operandi, Santo Domingo started working in partnership with Tiffany’s homeware design and production team in an advisory role in fall 2020, building on her experience developing Moda Operandi’s home category and private label Moda Domus. Her first collection for Tiffany will debut in April in conjunction with the brand’s Fifth Avenue flagship renovation reveal.

Minnesota-based furniture retailer Room & Board Business Interiors hired Ben Stich as national business sales manager. For the past 17 years, Stich led regional, national and North American sales efforts in the commercial furniture industry at companies like Nevers Industry and PS Furniture, and most recently, he helped with business development at MyResourceLibrary, a digital library serving the commercial contract interiors market. In his new role, Stich will formulate strategies for growth that maximize the customer experience and strengthen Room & Board BI’s commercial capabilities.

Wholesale paver manufacturer Aspire Pavers welcomed Jennifer Cella as a technical sales representative. Cella has 10 years of experience in the building and construction industry, previously working for building materials company GAF and medical equipment manufacturers Acumed and Stryker. In her new role, Cella will focus on delivering high-impact service to customers and building significant client relationships.

Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg appointed Rod Gower to general manager of its U.S. operations. An appliance industry veteran, Gower brings more than two decades of experience, previously serving as the operations and business development manager at Samsung Electronics America, and most recently as the senior regional sales manager and director of business development at LG Electronics. In his new role, Gower will be responsible for building and growing the domestic appliance categories in the United States.

Samsung Electronics America promoted Scott Davies to senior director of marketing for Dacor luxury appliances. Davies has years of marketing strategy and project management experience, previously working at New Zealand–based appliances company Fisher & Paykel for 20 years as a brand marketing manager and director of strategy, most recently serving as the director of marketing for Dacor for three years. In his new role, Davies will oversee all branding efforts by building strategies and campaigns for awareness growth, with a focus on evolving the company’s digital footprint.

North Carolina–based fabric company Glen Raven promoted Blake Collins to director of technical services. In this role, Collins leads the Sunbrella Care Team, helping customers understand and maintain their Sunbrella products. Collins and his team will soon move to a new facility with a dedicated Sunbrella Care Team space in Anderson, South Carolina, where they will focus on furthering the company’s industry-leading customer service through live one-on-one communications.

North Carolina–based furniture manufacturer Chelsea House announced Mark Ross as creative director. Ross joins Chelsea House after a 32-year career at New York–based gift and home decor wholesaler Two’s Company, where he served as the vice president of design. In his new role, Ross will oversee the design and development of all Chelsea House products, working with the company’s product designers and manufacturers, while also managing the design of the brand’s showrooms in High Point and Atlanta.

Brooklyn-based lighting design studio In Common With welcomed two new staff members. Brin Reinhardt joined the team as sales director, bringing over two decades of sales experience in the high-end design industry, previously managing sales and showroom operations for David Weeks Studio, Moroso and Design Within Reach. In her new role, she will lead trade and wholesale channels, overseeing domestic and international growth for the brand. Caroline Kable also joined the team, serving as director of production. With seven years of experience in the furniture and lighting industries and a background in fabrication, Kable previously managed production with Studio Endo and Matter Made, and will help streamline production, operations and logistics in her new role.

Industry Organizations
The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame elected a new board of directors for 2023. Karen McNeill was appointed board president; Scott Eckman will serve as first vice president; Steve Rusing will assume the role of second vice president; and Satya Tiwari was appointed secretary-treasurer. Caroline Hipple will continue to serve on the executive committee as board chairman. New directors include Hunt Broyhill, Tammy Nagem, Laurie Tokarz and Melinda Whittington, and board members reelected to serve another three-year term are Gat Caperton, Randy Coconis and Tyson Hagale.

Harvard Graduate School of Design announced Grace La as the new chair of the department of architecture. La is a professor of architecture at the GSD and principal of La Dallman, an architecture firm she co-founded in 1999 with a portfolio including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Hillel Student Center and Milwaukee’s Kilbourn Tower. La is the second woman to be named chair of the department of architecture, and in 2013 she became the first Korean American to be tenured at the GSD.

International Market Centers hired Mark Crowther as chief digital officer. Crowther brings over 25 years of experience to IMC, previously working as a digital design leader at IT consulting services company IBM, and most recently serving as the global head of business development for Amazon local advertising. In his new role, Crowther will report to chairman and CEO of IMC Bob Maricich and serve as a member of IMC’s Executive Leadership Team.

Homepage image: ©Josefmicic/Adobe Stock

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