TUPELO – Calling it a “great honor,” Greg Roy took the reins of Lane Furniture as president on Tuesday, replacing his friend and neighbor, Skipper Holliman, who resigned.
Holliman had held the position since August 2007. Before that he had been the company’s executive vice president.
Also resigning was Gentry Long, a 10-year Lane veteran who was executive vice president of merchandising for motion furniture. Long is Holliman’s brother-in-law.
Roy, a 21-year veteran of Lane who got his start as a sales trainee, was promoted from his post as executive vice president of sales and marketing.
“It’s a great honor to be in this position,” said Roy. “It’s a great company with great people, and we’re excited about the future.”
In a press release, Lane parent company Furniture Brands International said Holliman stepped down to start his own company.
“Furniture Brands and Lane have been very good to me and my family over these past 21 years,” Holliman said.
“It has been a lifelong desire of mine to one day start my own company. Based on the current economic environment and opportunity that exists, I felt that the timing was right to go and pursue that dream at this time.”
Details of the new company were not immediately available.
John Hastings, Furniture Brands’ vice president of communications, said his company was “not in position to speak to his (Holliman’s) plans.”
Holliman is the son of Mickey Holliman, the former chairman and CEO of Furniture Brands. Skipper Holliman will remain in an “advisory capacity,” according to the company.
“Skipper is ready to offer advice to us that we’ll require,” Hastings said.
And Furniture Brands Chairman and CEO Ralph Scozzafava lavished praise on the Hollimans. Mickey Holliman, along with Bo Bland, founded Action Industries in 1970. Action was bought by Lane in 1972, and in 1987, Furniture Brands acquired Lane.
“The Holliman family’s impact on Lane has been significant, and we wish Skipper well,” Scozzafava said. “His tenure was marked by a strong work ethic that was matched by his devotion to the Lane brand.”
Mickey Holliman is a director on Furniture Brands’ board and is up for re-election at its board meeting May 7.
Roy said he, too, had a “great deal of respect or the Hollimans and their service and wish them the best.”
And Roy’s immediate plans are to let customers know that Lane is in business to build business for them.
“There have been changes here, and I’m committed … this is a team effort,” he said.
Lane offers a broad product line across seven cateories, which Roy said provides an advantage for the company.
“The economy is challenging and people are cautious, but we happen to have the right products, the right people and the right plans in place,” Roy said.
Lane also will be launching a new Web site within two weeks that Roy says is “world class.”
Roy “really understands what it takes to make our dealers successful in reaching their goals,” Scozzafava said. “I’m confident that Greg and his team will continue their great progress in building on Lane’s leadership position in our industry.”
Lane employs about 2,100 workers in three plants in Northeast Mississippi.
Dennis Seid/Daily Journal