Ravi Saligram, Newell Brands

ravi_saligram_newellThe August 19 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 14th 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.

Ravi Saligram, Newell Brands, Incoming President/CEO

CREDENTIALS: Named Newell Brands president/CEO in late July, Ravi Saligram will officially take his new position in early October. He joins the struggling company with a wealth of high-level executive management experience. Since 2014, Saligram has been CEO of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, an asset disposal firm. He also served as CEO of office superstore OfficeMax for three years and held various management positions with InterContinental Hotels Group and SC Johnson.

Patrick Campbell, chairman of the board at Newell, called Saligram a proven chief executive with a track record of building diverse leadership teams while delivering high-quality performance in multi-unit organizations.

WHAT TO WATCH: Saligram joins a major player in the housewares business that has been in disarray for some time. While company officials following the acquisition of Jarden in 2015 touted the move as one that had “incredible potential to grow and create value,” it has done the opposite.

The company’s stock price, which peaked at just over $53 in June of 2017, was slightly less than $14 at the end of July.

While Newell has sold off some assets in recent years, the company continues to own a plethora of well-known brands such as Calphalon, Crock-Pot and Mr. Coffee in housewares and Sharpie, Yankee Candle and Graco in other consumer product categories.

Talent to manage those brands and develop new products will be key to future growth. Many competitors in the world of housewares in recent years have hired product developers and marketers that were connected with Jarden but left the company after the Newell acquisition.

Whether Saligram can right the ship and begin to attract the talent needed to manage and grow these brands will be a key issue worth watching.

PERSPECTIVE: Perhaps the best perspective on Saligram and the task he faces comes from Jim Craigie, a member of Newell’s board of directors. In an interview with the Wall St. Journal, Craigie said the Newell CEO job is not one for a rookie. “It’s a tough assignment and we looked for someone who checked all the boxes,” he said.

2020 HomeWorld Business People To Watch (click on name for profile):

Rich Krause, Capital Brands

Jill Soltau, J.C. Penney

Marcelo Borges, Tramontina USA

Ross Patterson, Robinson Home

Dave Albert, Spectrum Brands

Christopher Banning, Meyer Corp. U.S.

Kris Malkoski, Arc Americas

Bryan Welsh, SodaStream U.S.

Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture

Mike Otterman, Lodge

Mike Bauer, Libbey

Corie Barry, Best Buy

Lee Bird, At Home

Ryan Ross, Williams Sonoma

Mark Eichhorn, The Oneida Group

Ravi Saligram, Newell Brands

Derek Miller, International Housewares Association

Arthur Zambelli, Bradshaw Home

Mads Ryder, Lenox Corp.

Jay Jordan, Home Meridian