SPRING LAKE, MI - Kevin Kuske, an energetic and entrepreneurial leader with nearly two decades of experience in the contract furniture industry, has been chosen to succeed izzy+ founder Chuck Saylor as the company's President and CEO.
Kuske joined industry titan Steelcase in 1997 and has held an array of increasingly responsible postings since, most recently leading the company's emerging Turnstone brand and helping orchestrate a very successful reinvention of Steelcase's wood products division.
His appointment to the izzy+ position took effect on January 27 and for the next several months Kuske will be partnering with Saylor on a succession and leadership transition plan.
"I am delighted with Kevin's selection as the next leader of izzy+," said Saylor. "He brings not only great experience but shares our passion for empowering and leveraging people for growth. I'm eager to see the next step in the development of izzy+ under Kevin's leadership."
Added Kuske: "Chuck has established a tremendous legacy and created a powerful brand with izzy+ and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him to build upon what he's done and to bring the products and spirit of izzy+ to even more people in the future. It's my passionate goal to make Chuck and all the employees and fans of izzy+ extremely proud as we move forward."
Saylor's formal retirement from his CEO role will take place in mid-July, when he marks his 65th birthday. He founded the company in 2001 as part of the JSJ Corporation family of businesses, establishing the fledgling operation in Grand Rapids but soon thereafter moving it to Spring Lake, not far from the JSJ Corporation headquarters in Grand Haven.
The company initially was named izzydesign, in tribute to Saylor's granddaughter Isabel. It was renamed izzy+ in 2008, when JSJ acquired the parent of the Fixtures Furniture, Harter, and ABCO brands. The company also is the North American marketing partner and distributor of HAG chairs, a powerful seating brand in Scandinavia and the European continent.
Kuske asserted that it was a difficult decision to leave the Steelcase family and the leadership of Turnstone, a brand that he described as "a kindred spirit to the izzy+ brand." But the izzy+ opportunity was too intriguing to turn down, he said.
"The izzy+ brand always has spoken of collaboration, long before that became a buzzword in the marketplace," he said. "Now, the brand is aggressively exploring and promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace, once again in the vanguard. Following Chuck Saylor's visionary path, we intend to continue to be pioneering and come up with innovative, beautiful products and smart solutions for even more customers."
Kuske holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering for The University of Michigan, and a Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
He is on the advisory board for the Strategic Futures Institute at Michigan Technological University, and also serves as a volunteer and board member for the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding. he lives with his wife, Ann, and their three children in the Grand Rapids area.
The employees of izzy+ (www.izzyplus.com) design, manufacture and market office furniture and seating that solve real problems for real people. The focus is to provide designers with the tools to create inspiring work spaces for forward-thinking customers in home offices and small businesses, in executive offices and board rooms, in hospitals and classrooms. Its award-winning products are marketed under the brand namesizzy, HÅG, Harter, Fixtures Furniture, Zoom Seating and ABCO Office Furniture. Based in Spring Lake, MI, izzy+ is a business of JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, MI.
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