The August 20 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 13th 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.
Kenneth Wilkes, Corelle Brands, President and CEO
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Succeeding Carl Warschausky after his retirement in late 2017, Kenneth Wilkes has brought more than 25 years of housewares experience with him into the role of president and CEO of World Kitchen, which rebranded in February 2018 as Corelle Brands.
He previously served as evp, CFO and chief administrative officer of Anchor Glass Container Corporation, a producer of premium glass packaging products for the food and beverage markets. At Anchor Glass, Wilkes was a key architect of the company’s transformation into a profitable, best-in-class glass manufacturer in the U.S. He also served as general manager of international operations and CFO of Libbey, a global glassware and tableware manufacturer. Wilkes led Libbey’s rapid expansion into international markets, including sales to more than 100 countries and manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mexico, Europe and China.
WHAT TO WATCH: Millennial consumers are penetrating the market now more than ever, as older Millennial buyers are beginning to shake their student loan debt. This has given them more disposable income and has also allowed them to invest in real estate, instead of renting apartments or co-ops. This is influencing the tabletop and storage markets as consumers are looking for quality products that will last, as well as designs that show off their sense of style.
Wilkes will be leading Corelle’s charge when it comes to reaching the Millennial consumer. The company is reaching new audiences particularly through digital channels and social platforms that appeal to Millennial consumers with an emphasis on home cooking and entertaining, said Wilkes, a strategy that is designed to spur category growth.
PERSPECTIVE: “Brands matter, and they matter for a reason. Our brands, including Pyrex and Corelle, are among the great brands in housewares, with off the chart brand recognition measures. They are loved, not just by American consumers, but also by consumers across the globe. We drive market differentiation by building on quality and innovation, for which our products are known,” said Wilkes.
2019 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Heshy Biegeleisen, Gourmia
- David Whitley, True Brands
- Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s
- Walter Lehneis, Groupe SEB USA
- Henry Liu, Cangshan Cutlery Company
- Darbie Angell, Darbie Angell
- Kevin Blossom, Spectrum Brands
- Mike Evans, Bush Industries
- Tom Neth, ThemoServ
- Jayme Smaldone, Mighty Mug
- Robert Wang, Instant Pot
- Ryan Gilchrist, Wayfair
- Davide Sereni, Luigi Bormioli/Bormioli Rocco
- Kristi Forbes, Forty One Madison
- Jean-Philippe Peugeot, Peugeot Saveurs North America
- Michelle Gass, Kohl’s
- Bob Maricich, International Market Centers
- Lance Hood, Progressive International
- Kenneth Wilkes, Corelle Brands