The Kohler Board of Directors has elected President and Chief Executive Officer David Kohler to the additional role of Chair of the Board, following the passing of Executive Chairman Herbert V. Kohler, Jr. on September 3 at age 83. The Board of Directors had previously undertaken a comprehensive succession planning process to ensure an orderly transition of leadership to guide the global, privately held organization.
David will chair the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, in addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer which will include full scope responsibility for the three business groups of Kohler (Kitchen & Bath, Power, Hospitality) and all enterprise functions.
David has been with Kohler for over 31 years and was elected to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in 2015, having previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer since 2009. He is the fourth generation of Kohler family leadership since the company’s inception in 1873, and only the ninth person to lead the company over the last 149 years.
“The Board is confident in David’s deep experience, strong leadership, and passion for bold innovation to continue driving our company forward well into the future. David has proven to be an inspiring and forward-thinking leader for our associates around the world, including in times of uncertainty throughout the global financial crisis, the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and a variety of other challenges,” the company stated. “David understands the importance of developing a strong culture of dedicated associates passionate about innovating, inspiring, and delighting our customers. He draws upon the legacy of past Kohler leaders and our company’s established framework – grounded in our mission and guiding principles – to ensure company stability, sustained growth, and long-term success.”
“I learned so much from my father, including a tireless strong work ethic, leading with candor and humility, and always driving to innovate. He believed that you must have passion for whatever you do in life if you want to be successful. Working alongside him for decades showcased the impact of embracing an entrepreneurial spirit, not being afraid to fail, and always striving for accuracy and consistency. He left an indelible mark on me personally and professionally,” David said of his father Herbert V. Kohler, Jr.
Under David’s leadership, the company surpassed $8 billion in annual revenues in 2021. The organization has experienced substantial global expansion in both cutting-edge manufacturing facilities and immersive kitchen and bath showrooms, including the global portfolio of Kohler Experience Centers, as well as significant growth in e-commerce and digital capabilities. His leadership has helped Kohler become the number-one kitchen and bath brand in the U.S. and China, and number-one international brand in India.
The Power Group has experienced sustained growth globally – both organic and through M&A including the acquisition of U.K.-based Clarke Energy in 2015. The company continues to broaden its expansion of clean energy and distributed energy options with new products, and the 2021 acquisitions of Curtis Instruments(electric vehicle controls) and Heila Technologies (microgrid software controls). David has also overseen the increased focus and investment in the company’s digital transformation and its foray into the Smart Home space with a robust roster of connected products for kitchen and bath spaces.
When it comes to making a commitment to sustainability, David led the company to be among the first to establish a Net Zero 2035 goal across its operations in 2008. In the years since, the organization has been actively tracking and substantially reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste across operations while investing in renewable energy. David believes strongly that companies and economies must advance both industry and the environment and managing this balance is critical. In June of this year, the company issued its first-ever Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Reporthighlighting the company’s increased reporting transparency, goals, and progress across environmental sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, and social impact.