Barnwell, S.C.—George Kelley, former head of Pergo North America, has been named president and CEO of Kronotex USA, maker of the Formica brand of laminate flooring, effective July 1. Kelley replaces Norm Voss, who announced his retirement from both positions at the end of this month.
Voss has spent 44 years in the wood panel and laminate business, and was named president and CEO of Kronotex when it expanded into the U.S. in 2000. Andreas Böttger, COO of Kronotex’ parent company, Swiss Krono Group, noted Voss will remain with the company as a member of the board and “continue to be actively involved in future expansion, investment and raw material sourcing activities for Swiss Krono Group.”
Kelley is a former president and CEO of Pergo North America and president and CEO of two specialty metal companies, Bohler Uddeholm Specialty Metals and Zapp USA. He left Pergo in late 2010 and worked with a startup company that was launching dental centers in retail locations. “Part of my role as president was to raise funds through individuals and private equity groups,” he told FCNews in an exclusive interview. “We were able to secure funding late last year and this concept launched in the Charleston, S.C., market in February.”
His immediate goal at Kronotex is “to create a smooth transition, which is why I will be working closely with [Voss] and the Kronotex team.”
Having worked for the laminate sector’s most well-known brand, Kelley is well suited to handle what is arguably an even better known consumer brand in Formica. “Clearly the Formica brand name has strong recognition, but it is not as strongly recognized in the flooring segment [as Pergo]. Kronotex has a state-of-the-art laminate plant here and a great product portfolio. Our job is to translate those capabilities to strengthen both the Formica brand and Kronotex as a company with its own brand image that stands for quality, reliability and value in the laminate flooring market.”
He added having Swiss Krono Group as a parent will be a big help in allowing the company to achieve its goals. “It provides financially sound ownership and is planning for growth in the markets it serves, including North America. Our long-term plan is to deliver intelligent growth by producing the highest quality laminate products across a full range of price points to this market.”