Serta Simmons Bedding Announces Leadership Transition

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Doraville, Georgia-based Serta Simmons Bedding Inc. has named Charlie Eitel as its new CEO, and Tim Oakhill as its new chief marketing officer. Eitel is a current board member and former chair and CEO of Simmons Bedding. Oakhill is former chief marketing officer of Simmons Bedding.

Former chair of the International Sleep Products Association, Eitel succeeds Shelley Huff, and Oakhill, former member of the Better Sleep Council, succeeds Guy Longworth, who are both departing the company.

“It is a privilege to join Serta Simmons Bedding during this important moment at the company,” Eitel said. “We have a clear vision of how to strengthen our market position. I look forward to working with the rest of the board and leadership team at SSB to execute our strategy and deliver the innovative sleep products for which retailers and consumers have always trusted us.”

In addition, the SSB board intends to name Mark Genender as executive chairman of the board, according to company officials. James M. Loree, the former president and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, has also been appointed to the board.

“SSB has a strong foundation built on the company’s deep heritage in innovation and portfolio of leading brands,” Genender said. “To regain market leadership, our new board believes we must build on that legacy by continuing to innovate and invest in our brands, enhancing retail partner relationships and providing industry-leading quality and service.

“Charlie is an experienced industry leader with deep retailer and supplier relationships and an appreciation for the competitive environment, while Tim is a seasoned marketer with extensive experience building brands and driving product development in the bedding industry,” he continued. “The board is confident that Charlie and Tim, in addition to the existing senior team, are the right leaders to position SSB for the future.”

Eitel and Oakhill join the company’s leadership team including:

  • John Linker, chief financial and operations officer
  • Dominick Azevedo, chief sales officer
  • Kristen McGuffey, chief legal officer
  • Esther Ni, chief human resources officer
  • Heather Decker, chief strategy officer
  • Brian Dengler, chief innovation officer

James M. Loree brings extensive experience to the board, driving operational excellence and business transformation, and he will play an important role helping the company continue to evolve, according to a news release.

In addition to Eitel, Genender and Loree, SSB’s board is composed of business leaders with relevant experience in manufacturing, consumer durables and retail, including Jim Fogarty (CEO, Fullbeauty Brands), Alan Shaw (former president and CEO, North America, Electrolux) and Brandi Thomas (group vice president and chief audit executive, General Electric).

About Charlie Eitel

Eitel previously served as CEO of Simmons Bedding from 2000 to 2008, when Simmons experienced unprecedented growth and established its position as a global sleep solutions pioneer, according to company officials. He also served as vice chairman of the Simmons Bedding Board from 2008 to 2010. More recently, Eitel served on the boards of both Mattress Firm and City Mattress. He was also chairman and CEO of WS Packaging Group. Eitel received a B.S. from Oklahoma State University.

About Tim Oakhill

Oakhill previously held various marketing roles including chief marketing officer at Simmons Bedding. In these roles, he drove significant growth of the product and brand platforms that built on the company’s legacy, company officials said. More recently, Oakhill founded one of the industry’s first direct-to-consumer brands, Yogabed. He served as worldwide chief marketing strategist for IBM and as executive vice president at Mattress Firm. Oakhill received an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, and a B.S. and B.A. from the University of South Carolina.

About Mark Genender

Genender is now a managing partner at Bristol Growth Capital, LLC, a growth and early-stage investor in the consumer/retail and media and technology sectors. He previously served in senior investment roles at Eldridge Industries and in the same role at the predecessor entity to Eldridge Industries, Guggenheim Partners. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Genender was a partner and portfolio manager at Red Mountain Capital. He co-founded Star Avenue Capital, a consumer growth equity vehicle, and worked as a managing director/partner at Fenway Partners. While at Fenway, Genender served as a director on the Simmons Bedding Board. He received his A.B. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from INSEAD.

About James M. Loree

Loree is the former president and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker Inc. Prior to becoming Stanley Black & Decker’s CEO, he served as its chief operating officer. Before that, he worked as chief financial officer of The Stanley Works prior to its merger with Black & Decker. Earlier in his career, Loree worked in various operating and fiscal management positions of increasing responsibility at General Electric Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College, where he serves as a trustee. Loree is currently on the board of The Whirlpool Corporation, a position he’s held since 2017.