Former Simmons CEO Charlie Eitel heading SSB
By Alan Wolf, YSN
Six weeks after emerging from a Chapter 11 restructuring, a reinvigorated Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB) is rounding out a new management team comprised of former Simmons execs.
Leading the business as CEO is Charlie Eitel, a current board member and former chairman/CEO of SSB forerunner Simmons Bedding. Appointed last month, he succeeded Shelley Huff, the onetime Walmart exec who assumed the post less than two years ago and led SSB through its restructuring.
Eitel is joined on the executive team by Tim Oakhill, a past Simmons CMO who assumed the same title in July, and Rob Burch, a former Simmons operations chief who this week was named chief operating officer, overseeing U.S. and Canadian manufacturing.
In addition, private equity investor Mark Genender was named executive chairman of the board. In a statement, Genender said, “To regain market leadership, our new board believes we must build on [our] legacy by continuing to innovate and invest in our brands, enhancing retail partner relationships and providing industry leading quality and service.”
Genender described Eitel as “an experienced industry leader with deep retailer and supplier relationships and an appreciation for the competitive environment.” He similarly praised Oakhill as “a seasoned marketer with extensive experience building brands and driving product development in the bedding industry.”
Eitel, in turn, called COO Burch “a highly experienced leader with a proven track record in all facets of operations.” Burch, he said, will help advance SSB’s turnaround strategy of delivering “industry-leading quality and exceptional service levels” to its retail partners.
Eitel led Simmons from 2000 to 2008, a period of unprecedented growth for the company, and sat on the boards of retail chains Mattress Firm and City Mattress. Oakhill is credited with driving significant brand and product growth while at Simmons, and more recently co-founded Yogabed, a direct-to-consumer mattress brand. Their careers also dovetailed at Standard Furniture, where they held their current titles.
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Burch joins SSB from Michigan manufacturer Kindel Furniture, where he served as president since 2014. During his four-year stint as executive VP of operations at Simmons, he developed the Simmons Production System — a lean manufacturing approach that drove significant improvements in lead times, quality and cost performance.