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New SSB chief says job No. 1 is ‘financial excellence’ in turnaround strategy

DORAVILLE, Ga. – Serta Simmons Bedding’s new chief executive took over leadership of the mattress maker this week, and his first goal is to tackle the company’s financial processes to deliver “financial excellence” as the company continues to roll out its turnaround strategy.

Jim Loree, brings more than 40 years of operations experience with company’s such as GE and Stanley Black & Decker, to SSB’s leadership team. Loree succeeds Mark Genender whoo was named interim CEO in October.  Genender retains his position as chairman of the board.

Loree has been a member of SSB’s board of directors since July 2023 shortly after the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Looking to set the company up for success, it is building on the momentum executives say SSB captured from Memorial Day based on response to its new product lineups across the Beautyrest Black, iComfort, Beauty Sleep and Serta Classic brands.

Job No. 1, Loree told Furniture Today in an exclusive interview, is making sure the company “has the financial process in place to generate the cash flow and margins from the great sales we have going on. We will bring financial excellence to the table.”

One of Loree’s first executive hires will be a chief financial officer to help execute the new financial program. The company has been working with an interim executive in the position since October.

“It is early days,” Loree said. “I have been part and parcel of this turnaround effort over the last year. We have an active board, and we have all been involved in helping craft the strategy. And that strategy is one that leverages the industry experience we brought back to SSB. I don’t think we would have made it as far as we have without that experience.”

Loree referenced the return of Dominick Azevedo to lead SSB’s sales effort, Rob Burch to head up operations and Tim Oakhill as the company’s marketing executive. The three lead executives had worked with Serta Simmons in the past in leadership roles.

Crediting his experience in “complex industries” and with “world-class companies,” Loree said he sees similarities SSB shares with companies such as GE and Stanley Black & Decker.

“All are different, but there are some common threads, including a growth engine and operation efficiencies,” he said, adding that brands in the mattress business resound with consumers much in the same way tool brands do. “The value proposition in relationships the brands are similar, and the relationship with channel partners is important.”

Genender said he is happy to hand over the reins. “It’s a very smooth transition,” he said. “I remain committed to all of the work we have done, and I think the market is beginning to see all of that work.”

The key to SSB’s turnaround strategy, Genender said, is product, marketing and operational excellence. “I think those things together, and to Jim’s point, is a tribute to the team,” he said. “We can execute, the product is resonating, and the brand strategy is resonating.”

The company, Genender said, has reset with a retail-focused approach, and he said the company’s execution with its new product rollout has been “almost flawless.”

“We’re doing a very good job of listening to the market instead of telling them,” he said. “We’re hearing feedback and adjusting accordingly.”

See also:

  • Serta Simmons emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, taps Eitel for new board
  • Serta Simmons rolls out 50 new beds as part of turnaround strategy

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