People to Watch in 2016:
Sam Solomon

The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 10th Annual “Players,” 20 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.

Player’s Credentials: EveryWare Global’s Sam Solomon was named permanent CEO in 2014 after serving as interim CEO for more than three months. In 2015, Solomon was also appointed as a member of EveryWare’s board of directors. He brought to his roles more than 20 years of leadership experience for businesses such as Sears, The Coleman Company and Procter & Gamble.

What To Watch: EveryWare Global successfully completed a lender supported restructuring plan and emerged from Chapter 11 in June 2015 with a reduced debt load and strengthened balance sheet. Having a more stable capital structure in place “gives us the opportunity to focus on the business,” Solomon said, marketing its Anchor Hocking brand at retail and multiple brands, including Oneida, on the food service side. The company continues its valued partnership with Robinson Home Products, representing the Oneida retail business.

“I’ve developed a specialty in reinvigorating heritage brands— great American brands that were built the old fashioned way, through years of valued customer experience rather than a flashy marketing campaign,” he said. 

“The change in focus that’s underway is from a manufacturing cost plus mentality to a market focused, value creating organization,” he said, tapping into insights into trends and consumer lifestyle, rather than volume. One of the keys going forward is “translating our insights all the way to the shelf,” he said, such as making sure a product’s packaging explains its full benefits and working with retail buyers on ideal promotional opportunities.

Solomon is also tasked with restoring customer confidence, in EveryWare’s service level and also in its leadership team. Earlier this year, EveryWare named a new svp/CFO, a new svp/operations, supply chain and it is seeking a vp/marketing director.

Perspective: “Mostly right and mostly right now” is Solomon’s call for action and speed. “When a business is in a turnaround or turbulent time, you don’t have the luxury of time; perfection is elusive,” he said. “The key is to make quicker decisions using best judgment and less analysis, and to quickly act on more of what is working well.”