The Herman Miller – Knoll acquisition is moving ahead apace. Last week, both Andi Owen and Andrew Cogan sent announcements concerning leadership positions for the new entity. Ms. Owen also laid out the initial organizational plan with complete reporting relationships; as complete as such plans can be at this early juncture.

For those of you outside the Herman Miller or Knoll families who might have missed these announcements, we present them here as they were originally distributed. As two of our favorite companies embark on the merged and new culture, we will be watching with great interest and hoping for the best.

Andi Owen, Herman Miller CEO

From Andi Owen:

Hi Everyone,

Today marks an important milestone in our journey to bring Herman Miller and Knoll together, as I’m sending our first shared message to all our people, everywhere. While there is much to be excited about as we look ahead, we also know there will be many questions as we continue to plan for our combined future. As has been the case throughout this journey, we are committed to keeping you informed and sharing what we know.

When we first announced our plans to bring Herman Miller and Knoll together, we expected the transaction would be finalized in the third quarter of 2021. We now expect to be on the early end of that timeline. We have achieved U.S. antitrust clearance and both companies will be holding shareholder meetings on July 13, 2021, to obtain the shareholder votes required to approve the transaction. Assuming everything goes as hoped, the deal should close about a week after those meetings.

One of my top priorities has been to ensure we have the organizational structure and operating model for our new company (which we’re referring to by the project name “NewCo” for the time being) in place as we come together post-close. I’m writing today to share this vision in hopes that it will provide some clarity as to how the leadership team of NewCo will be structured and how our teams will work with one another. I expect we will transition to this structure and operating model within 60 days of closing, so in some cases I’ll share interim reporting structures for Day One as well. I should also note, people who may be together in a team or function today might be in a different team or function in the new structure. We plan to engage the leaders named in this announcement and our collective HR teams to help refine the next level of organization design and will share that detail in the weeks following the deal closing.

As a combined company, NewCo will power the world’s most consequential design brands, and our operating model will allow us to lead from a strong position. Similar to Herman Miller and Knoll today, we will continue to support and grow our Contract and Retail businesses, as well as explore new ideas and business innovations. Like Herman Miller today, NewCo will also have global functional teams that serve the entire enterprise, including Manufacturing, Digital, Technology, Marketing, Strategy, Finance, Human Resources, and Legal. NewCo’s structure will ensure strong brand ownership designed to preserve and nurture the essence of the brands within our portfolio, which includes the Herman Miller and Knoll brands. To realize these aspirations, the organization will be led as follows:

Leadership of NewCo’s Commercial and Brand Organizations

>John Michael, President, Americas Contract. John will lead Contract Sales and Distribution for the Americas (North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean). His team will be responsible for the sales and distribution of our brands sold through the Contract Furnishing channel, including both the Herman Miller and Knoll brands. The teams focused on shared commercial services across our global Contract business, which includes Sales Operations, Sales Enablement, and Global Accounts, will dual- report to the leader of International Contract and John. On Day One, the team that currently reports to John will continue to report to him, along with Paige Roberts and her team at Knoll.

>Chris Baldwin, Group President, NewCo. As Group President of NewCo, Chris will have three primary areas of responsibility.

>The first is ownership for the global Knoll Brand and Product organization. With this in mind, Alana Stevens and the teams responsible for the Knoll brand, along with the team currently reporting to David Bright, will report to Chris on Day One.

>The second is responsibility for the brands in our combined portfolio that serve a separate customer segment. This includes the teams at Muuto, led by Anders Cleemann; Holly Hunt, led by Marc Szafran; Geiger, led by Kevin McVey; DatesWeiser, led by Rob Walsh; KnollTextiles, led by Enrico Colzani; Edelman Leather, led by Mark Skerik; Maharam, led by Tony Manzari; and SpinneybeckǀFilzFelt, led by Roger Wall. Each of the organizations noted above will report to Chris effective Day One under their current leaders.

>Third, Chris will have overall responsibility for our International Contract business, including both the Herman Miller and Knoll brands. As Jeremy Hocking, President of Herman Miller’s International Contract business, prepares to retire in early August, his to-be-named successor will report to Chris and will lead International Sales and Distribution as a member of the NewCo leadership team. On Day One, Jeremy’s current direct reports will shift their reporting to the new leader of International Contract. This group includes the Herman Miller Contract Sales and Distribution teams in Europe (led by Emmanuel Delvaux) and Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (led by Kartik Shethia), along with the International Channel Development Team (led by Dominik Ramminger). CBS (led by Andy Humphreys), naughtone (led by Nadean McNaught), and Maars Living Walls (led by Menno DeVries) will also report to this new leader, as will the Knoll team led by Demetrio Apolloni. The leaders of all these groups will work alongside Jeremy and Chris to ensure a smooth transition post-close.

>Debbie Propst, President, Retail. Debbie will lead NewCo’s global Retail and Wholesale businesses across the Herman Miller, Knoll, Design Within Reach, and Fully brands. Debbie will also have global responsibility for the HAY brand, led by Henry Jones, across the retail and contract channels. David Kahl and his team at Fully and the Knoll team currently reporting to Esohe Omoruyi will also report to Debbie on Day One.

>Ben Watson, Herman Miller Brand President and Chief Product Officer. In this role, Ben will have two primary areas of responsibility. Similar to the team Chris Baldwin will lead for the Knoll brand globally, Ben will lead the Global Herman Miller Brand and Product organization, which includes Creative Direction, Product Design, Product Management, and Brand/Product Marketing for the Herman Miller brand globally. Ben will also lead the NewCo Product Organization, which will include Product Development, Product Innovation, and Sustainability. The NewCo Product Organization will serve as a resource for the entire enterprise, with primary emphasis on product development for the Herman Miller and Knoll brands globally. Effective Day One, the teams that currently report to Ben will continue to report to him, and Steven Kleis and his team at Knoll will join Ben’s organization.

While Jeremy Hocking’s retirement date isn’t for a few more weeks, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to him, for an incredible 37-year career with Herman Miller. I know I speak for everyone at Herman Miller in wishing him the very best in his retirement.

Leadership of Global Functions:

>Ben Groom, Chief Digital Officer. As he does today for Herman Miller, Ben will lead eCommerce, Data and Analytics, Digital Design, Digital Engineering, Digital Production, and Digital Products across NewCo. We do not anticipate any changes to Ben’s existing team on Day One.

>Jen Nicol, Chief People Officer. Jen will join Herman Miller later this month and will lead NewCo’s combined Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion teams. The Knoll team currently reporting to Roxanne Klein will report to Jen effective Day One.

>Tim Straker, Chief Marketing Officer. Tim will continue in his current role at Herman Miller leading global Marketing, Creative, Showrooms, and Communications for NewCo. In addition, he will lead Corporate Marketing for NewCo, along with matrixed responsibility for brand and product marketing across all NewCo’s brands in partnership with the individual brand leaders.

>Jeff Stutz, Chief Financial Officer. Jeff will lead the integrated Finance organization for NewCo, along with an integrated global Real Estate team. The team at Knoll currently reporting to Charles Rayfield will report directly to Jeff on Day One.

>Richard Scott, Chief Global Manufacturing and Operations Officer.Richard will lead global Manufacturing and Operations for NewCo. In addition to his current team, on Day One he will also assume responsibility for the Operations teams that support the Knoll brand. In this expanded role, Richard remains a member of the leadership team of NewCo and will report to Jeff Kurburski, who will play an important role going forward in defining and leading the systems integration efforts that are so critical to manufacturing and operations across the globe.

> Jeff Kurburski, Chief Technology Officer. As he does today for Herman Miller, Jeff will lead Technology, ERP Platforms, Digital Platforms for our employees and contract dealers, Cyber Security, and Technology Innovation for NewCo, as well as the integration between technology, operations, and manufacturing noted above. The team at Knoll currently reporting to Usman Waheed will report to Jeff on Day One.

>Megan Lyon, Chief Strategy Officer. Megan will continue in her role leading the Enterprise Strategy team for NewCo along with the Global Insights and New Business Innovation, Enterprise PMO, and M&A teams. Megan will also assume responsibility for our enterprise portfolio strategy, working in close partnership with the Product teams across the business to optimize the product portfolio across the family of brands globally. Megan’s current team will continue to report to her, and Michael Arlotto will join her team on Day One.

>Jackie Rice, General Counsel. Jackie will lead the integrated global Legal, Compliance, and Employee Relations teams of NewCo. The Legal teams across NewCo will report to Jackie effective Day One.

In addition to the NewCo leadership team, Kevin Veltman will continue to report to me as the Integration Lead, serving as the day-to-day lead on our ongoing integration efforts. In this role, Kevin serves as an adjunct member of the NewCo leadership team, keeping our teams focused on critical activities and milestones as we move forward.

You can find an organization chart that summarizes these changes here:

While the accelerated timeline to deal close means we can more quickly move on to the important work of bringing our organizations together, there are many decisions still to be made and we still have a lot of work to do. I have great confidence in this leadership team and know they will come together to continue the critical work of designing a strong operating model that will support our future ambitions and create exciting opportunities for everyone at NewCo. We will continue to share details and decisions as they are made. In the meantime, I’m asking all current leaders to reach out your teams to confirm and clarify any reporting line changes that will impact them on Day One.

With these changes, several members of the Knoll team will leave the organization after Day One, according to timing determined by Knoll. These team members include Charles Rayfield, Michael Pollner, Esohe Omoruyi, Benjamin Pardo, Roxanne Klein, Usman Waheed, and David Bright. All have been valued team members, colleagues, and friends to the Knoll team and I want to be sure to acknowledge their many years of service to the organization and thank them for their contributions and continued support for the ongoing integration efforts. I hope you’ll join me in extending thanks and well wishes.

And as previously announced, Andrew Cogan, Chairman and CEO of Knoll, will depart Knoll once the deal closes. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with and getting to know Andrew over these past few months, and I am extremely grateful to him for his partnership and enthusiasm for bringing Knoll and Herman Miller together. He leaves an incredible legacy and I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing him all the best as he moves on to his next chapter.

I’d also like to thank the many people who have been involved in our integration efforts. There is a great deal of work underway to create the plans that will enable us to integrate our systems and processes and establish the next level of organizational design. We will send a communication in the next few weeks to share an overview of those efforts so everyone has a better idea of our collective accomplishments, as well as the integration efforts that are still to come over the next few months. Our closing date might feel like the end of the journey, but it’s really just the beginning.

Together we will transform and redefine our industry and create exciting new opportunities for our people around the world in the process. I’m look forward to working alongside all of you in this important work.






From Andrew Cogan: 

Andrew Cogan, Knoll

Moving Forward

I am pleased to share some important Herman Miller – Knoll integration planning news. As you may know, we’ve cleared regulatory approvals faster than expected, and pending the companies’ respective shareholder approvals and the satisfaction of all other closing conditions, we now expect the transaction to close mid-July, allowing us to begin bringing our two companies together much sooner than anticipated. Andi Owen’s note, below, is the first step at defining the operating model and leadership structure of our combined companies.

Andi’s announcement marks an important transition point for many of our senior leaders who have played an instrumental role in building the Knoll we all know today. These colleagues, including Benjamin, David B., Michael P., Roxanne, Charles, Usman and Esohe, have contributed to our ongoing recognition as an international design leader. They have helped shape our successful strategy to diversify our sources of revenue, celebrate our brand, expand our digital capabilities, modernize our IT platform and build a more diverse team and high-performing business. All things that attracted Herman Miller to Knoll in the first place. I will especially miss our animated day-to-day interaction, the spirited collegiality, entrepreneurial drive and their caring for each other and our fellow associates that defined the Knoll culture.

I am pleased that Chris Baldwin will carry the Knoll banner forward as well as assume additional responsibilities in the combined entity. Chris is one of the brightest leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and he will advocate for our people and businesses.

Additionally, the leaders of our constellation brands including Demetrio, Anders, David K., Marc S., Roger, Enrico and Mark S. will all continue to lead their respective business, and Michael A. will join the combined company’s strategy team. Importantly, both Alana and Paige will have meaningful roles going forward in the combined organization; they bring years of experience and a passion for Knoll to their teams, our clients and the A&D community. Additionally, Steve K., Ben, Jon L., Shahan, Eric, Rob W., Will S., Tom B. and Tom W. will bring their operational expertise to the new company. Antonella, Julio, Nancy, Bob S., John W., Kristian, Bryan and Rachel will round out leadership in the Finance, IT, Legal and HR groups. Together, these leaders will ensure continuity and a seamless transition for so many of our associates.

I am super confident that the combined companies will thrive with the range of experience and enthusiasm all of our Associates bring to the new organization.You can expect more updates, including Integration Planning Teams news, once the transition closes. Thank you for your support and all the best for summer days ahead.

Since he was addressing an internal audience to whom the departing leaders are well known, Mr. Cogan chose to name those leaders who will be leaving Knoll when the merger is complete, only by first name or first name and last initial. For those of you less familiar with the former Knoll organization, we’ve added this footnote with full names and positions held at Knoll.

Departing Knoll leaders:

>Esohe Omoruyi, Executive Vice President, Consumer and Digital Commerce

>Benjamin Pardo, Executive Vice President and Director of Design

>Charles Rayfield, Senior Vice President & CFO

>Michael Pollner, Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary

>Roxanne Klein, Senior Vice President, Human Resources

>David Bright, Senior Vice President, Communications

>Usman Waheed, Chief Information & Technology Officer