Forbes recently published its list of 400 richest people in America. Eighteen newcomers joined the list in 2020 - one of them being Ashley Furniture CEO Todd Wanek. Wanek has a net worth of $2.8 billion.
In 2002 Wanek took over the reins as CEO of Ashley Furniture, the furniture manufacturer and retailer his father (and fellow Forbes 400 member) Ronald bought in 1976. The Wisconsin-based firm continued to grow through the pandemic, opening new stores in Mexico, India, Bangladesh and Kenya while investing $22 million in a new facility in Mississippi. Wanek began working for the family business in high school and college, shipping furniture and working on the production line, before graduating from the University of Wisconsin and moving to Taiwan to manage the company’s factories in Asia. His father still serves as chairman; Todd’s son Cameron joined the company in 2015, the third generation of the Wanek family to work at Ashley Furniture.
Along with its recent expansion, the furniture giant announced it needed 300 full-time employees to work at three of its manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mississippi. It's seeking 100 employees at its manufacturing facility in Advance, North Carolina.
Ashley laid off a "small portion" of its workers in Arcadia, Wisconsin soon after the virus pandemic began. It said it temporarily closed some of its manufacturing and distribution operations in Mississippi and reduced its workforce in others.
Established in 1945, Ashley is the largest manufacturer of home furnishings in the world. The company had $5.7 billion in annual sales in 2019. It runs 12 manufacturing plants and employs more than 31,000 workers.
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