Ed Vlacich, Lasko Holdings

Lasko people to watch 2021

The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 15th annual “People To Watch” in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, “People To Watch” represents 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 “People To Watch” 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.

Ed Vlacich, Lasko Holdings, CEO

CREDENTIALS: Ed Vlacich was named CEO of Lasko Holdings in December, bringing more than 30 years of consumer products experience. He previously was region head of Henkel Beauty Care North America and president of national brands at private equity-held Sun Products. Vlacich spent seven years at Novartis in various leadership roles, including global chief marketing officer of CIBA Vision and GM Germany/Austria. Vlacich also brings a deep engineering and operations background to West Chester, PA-based Lasko, which markets products under the Lasko Products, Air King and B-Air brands and features U.S. manufacturing operations for much of its retail portable fan lineup.

WHAT TO WATCH: Vlacich’s diverse consumer product leadership background checks all the boxes for the private equity ownership joint venture led by consumer product management and investment veteran Jerry Levin that in 2016 acquired a Lasko business that had been family owned for more than 100 years. Vlacich said Lasko, with 90% aided brand awareness in home comfort appliances and coming off a strong season supplying homebound consumers during the COVID pandemic, will continue to leverage its dominant retail position in seasonal appliances and its domestic manufacturing capabilities to service retail customers responsively with a wider selection of affordable home environment innovations.

After its February 2019 acquisition of Intertex, maker of B-Air commercial air movement products for the water/fire damage restoration market, Lasko is exploring cross development that can extend its retail program, which in recent years has moved into air cleaners and humidifiers. Vlacich said Lasko also is widening its domestic manufacturing program with a plan to introduce its first-ever U.S.-made heater in time for the 2021 season. And the company is exploring digital marketing advancements— including possible applications that alert people to impending weather— to further support retail customers and their consumers.

PERSPECTIVE: “Having a CPG mindset, and the agility to react to where demand is, creates more opportunity for Lasko and its leading position (in the retail home comfort market)… We’ve been able to meet increasing demand through our fast-running (domestic production) lines. We’re set up to be even more agile… We help people through bad weather. And as people continue to work from home, the absolute need for our product will grow,” said Vlacich. —Peter Giannetti

2021 HomeWorld Business People To Watch (click on name for profile):

Janet Hayes, Crate & Barrel Holdings

Derek Miller, International Housewares Association

Samantha Rose, GIR (Get It Right)

Jay Zilinskas, Legacy Companies

Ed Vlacich, Lasko Holdings

Ben Gadbois, Corelle Brands

Joana McKenna, Walker Edison

Andreas Hansen, Plum

Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s

Chris McDonough, Corkcicle

Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond

Mike Evans, Bestar-Bush

Greg Cairo, Le Creuset of America

Pamela Stafford, Hestan Culinary

Bob Maricich, International Market Centers

Mark Rosenzweig and Mark Barrocas, SharkNinja