Kimball International appoints Juster as CEO

From Local Sources

JASPER — Kimball International Inc. has named Kristine “Kristie” L. Juster as its new CEO, effective Nov. 1


Juster has been a member of the Kimball International Board of Directors since 2016, and succeeds Bob Schneider, who announced in May his intent to retire as CEO and chairman, effective Oct. 31.

Juster comes to Kimball International — which is headquartered in Jasper — with over 20 years of experience as a global executive at Newell Brands. During her tenure there, she held the role of CEO and president of the Home Décor Segment with the design-driven brands, Levelor and Kirsh; the Culinary Lifestyle Segment with Calphalon, a premier brand known for design innovation; and the Global Writing Segment with a wide variety of market-leading brands such as Sharpie and Expo.

Throughout her career, Juster has driven significant growth for the businesses she has led through brand innovation, distribution channel expansion including e-commerce, and a global mindset. She has a proven track record of scaling growth strategies, while preserving the core values that are critical to the long-term sustainability of a business.

“Kristie is a proven, visionary leader with significant experience in areas important to Kimball International’s future, including strategic growth initiatives and diverse distribution channels,” said Pat Connolly, lead independent director of Kimball’s board of directors. “While bringing an outside perspective, she also already has a strong understanding of our business and has contributed to the Company’s strategic planning as a member of our Board the last two and a half years.”

Connolly said Juster “is a seasoned executive with extensive experience successfully transforming commercial and consumer brands.”

Her proven strategic, financial, and operational capabilities, combined with her strong commitment to growth, will position Kimball International for long-term success,” he said. “The Board is confident Kristie will lead Kimball International to the next level and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her as we enter an exciting new chapter.”

Juster, who has a bachelor of applied science degree in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell University, said she is honored and excited to lead the company, “which has such a rich history and compelling opportunities for strategic growth.”

“Over the past several years, Kimball International has transformed into a world-class design company with market-leading brands and a higher level of return on capital than any of our public competitors,” she said. “Our next chapter will leverage our entrepreneurial background, our love of design and creativity, and a passion for customer service and employee empowerment. I look forward to working with the experienced leadership team, talented employees, and our board of directors, as we search for ways to accelerate growth and to drive strategic differentiation in the marketplace.”

Connolly said the company is grateful for Schneider’s leadership and the many accomplishments during his career there.

“He is an excellent leader who led Kimball International’s remarkable turnaround and he leaves the Company with a healthy balance sheet, strategic business plans, and strong brands with attractive market opportunities,” Connolly said.

The board plans to separate the roles of chairman and CEO. It will elect and appoint a new chair following its Annual Meeting of Shareowners on Oct. 30. In connection with the separation of chairman and CEO and the appointment of an independent chairman, the board will discontinue the role of lead independent director.

Juster and her husband, Jim Carpenter, are native New Englanders and have lived in several cities throughout the Midwest and South.

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