CHICAGO— New leadership is taking the helm of World Kitchen, just months after its acquisition by a private equity firm, as it sets the stage for global growth.
As previously reported on homeworldbusiness.com, the kitchenware and housewares company has appointed Kenneth Wilkes as president and CEO, effective immediately, and MaryKay Kopf as chief marketing officer, effective January 1, 2018. Wilkes’ appointment comes in the wake of the retirement of former World Kitchen CEO, Carl Warschausky.
The shift in executive management comes just months after Cornell Capital, a private equity firm, acquired World Kitchen. At the time of the acquisition World Kitchen told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® that the shift in ownership provides the company with needed capital to invest in and open new selling opportunities for its portfolio of kitchenware brands while providing opportunities to expand its customer base globally. With Cornell Capital’s strong ties and experience working in Asia, several key Asia markets are now on the company’s radar, particularly China.
Wilkes brings more than 25 years of senior management experience in the global glassware and housewares categories. While he most recently served as evp/chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of Anchor Glass Container Corporation, he has also served as general manager of international operations and chief financial officer of Libbey Inc.
During his tenure at Libbey, Wilkes led Libbey’s expansion into international markets, including sales to more than 100 countries and manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mexico, Europe and China, according to the company. With his years of international sales experience, Wilkes seems to be in a strong position as CEO to advise and lead the company as it embarks on its international growth strategy.
In addition, Kopf steps into her role as CMO following three decades of marketing experience in executive roles for Electrolux, including global chief marketing officer and vp/marketing North America as well as a variety of senior management positions at DuPont prior to joining Electrolux in 2003.
Of the two joining World Kitchen, Henry Cornell, chairman of the board, World Kitchen, said, “We are very pleased to welcome two strong key executives, whom each bring decades of executive leadership, operational and financial skills and records of demonstrated success. As World Kitchen enters its next phase of growth, with the addition of Ken and MaryKay, I am confident the company will reach new heights.”
When asked what the future will hold for other members of World Kitchen’s upper management team, the company declined to comment.