David Friedson, former chief executive of Windmere Durable Holdings/Applica (now part of Spectrum Brands), died suddenly on February 11 in New York City. He was 58.
Friedson was president and CEO of Windmere Durable Holdings/Applica from 1985 to 2005. He oversaw the expansion of the company from a manufacturer and marketer of personal care appliances to a full-line small appliance company after the purchase of Black & Decker’s household appliance business in 1998.
Harbinger Capital Partners acquired Applica outright in 2006 and a year later merged it with the former Salton business. That combined business (reflagged under the Russell Hobbs corporate name) was acquired by Spectrum Brands in early 2010.
Under Friedson’s leadership, Applica established operations in in North America, Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company was listed among Fortune Magazine’s Fastest 100 Growing Companies in 1999.
Among his many ventures outside of the housewares business, Friedson was co-owner of the Charlotte Checker hockey team of the East Coast Hockey League and an investor in the Books & Books independent bookstore business based in South Florida. He served from 1990 to 2004 on the advisory board of the University of Miami School of Business. He became an investor in theater and an associate producer of several acclaimed Broadway productions, including ”It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues,” “The Royal” and “Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home.”