Anne Willis, Whitford Corporation

homeworld players willisThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Anne Willis, Whitford Corporation, President

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Anne Willis in April was named president of Whitford, the leading supplier of non-stick coatings for housewares and other industries including energy, automotive, textiles and construction. She was manager of the company’s European operation and head of its global management team the past 24 years. Her father and company founder, Dave Willis, stepped up to the chairman post. Anne Willis took a Wall Street position with Drexel Burnham Lambert after graduate school, moving to London for Drexel before joining Whitford’s England operation.

WHAT TO WATCH: Willis takes the reins of a Whitford business that over 50 years has advanced its global market leadership in fluoropolymer housewares coatings by combining technical innovation and product/brand diversification with intensive sales, technical and marketing support for manufacturers and retailers.

The company is investing heavily in technical and analytical equipment to advance its raw material insights. It is implementing a universal software system in all offices as part of a strategy to streamline operations and the flow of information and best practices across its wide global manufacturing and sales network.

PERSPECTIVE: “Being a privately held family business lends a great deal of flexibility to the organization. My challenge is to take the experience and knowledge of those who have been in the company for many years and meld that with what X and Y generations have to offer. The decision makers, both at our customers and within Whitford, are getting younger and have different expectations and time frames from what many are accustomed to,” said Willis. “We are closely examining what our customers are looking for, how we can best help them in an ever-competitive global marketplace and reinforce the Whitford culture at the same time. The manner in which we present ourselves in the future is critical to enhancing Whitford’s reputation as an innovator and wholly dependable worldwide supplier.”

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):