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.
Walter Lehneis, Groupe SEB USA, President and CEO
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Walter Lehneis was named president and general manager of Groupe SEB USA, taking over for Greg Cairo, who will become vp/Northern Latin America effective October 1. Cairo, who has been with Groupe SEB for more than 12 years, took the helm as president in 2010 and has been instrumental in the company’s growth strategy during that time.
Lehneis brings more than 20 years of experience to the company, the last several of which have had a focus on housewares. He was most recently the president at Newell Brands where he led the Jarden Home & Family division. This included the cleaning, baby care, organization and personal protection divisions. Prior to being named president at Newell, he was the general manager at Jarden and led the home division.
WHAT TO WATCH: Lehneis has been known to grow businesses through various economic climates due to the processes and programs he puts in place. In addition, he puts a heavy focus on the consumer, including buying trends and product demand. He leverages strategic marketing principles to guide priorities and execution while building collaborative partnerships with both internal and external influences.
This will be crucial to the growth of Groupe SEB as it leverages the recognition is has within its portfolio to the new customer— the Millennial. These consumers have different demands on both the housewares they purchase and companies they purchase from than Baby Boomers and Generation X, and the expertise Lehneis brings to this role should help position the company for the future.
PERSPECTIVE: Lehneis has tried to create an environment in which his colleagues are able to find inspiration, as their success and growth is instrumental in allowing the companies he has worked for to grow. He will continue to find new and different challenges within the organization that will benefit from the creation of an aspirational vision, which will be shared by the company as a whole.
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