Barnwell, S.C.—KronotexUSA announced at The International Surface Event the latest of several changes that will provide distributors, retailers and consumers the best innovations and quality in laminate flooring. Effective with Surfaces 2016, KronotexUSA is changing its name to Swiss Krono to reflect the parent company’s and the products’ Swiss heritage in woodworking and precision technology.
“It has been an exciting start for 2016,” said Travis Bass, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “The name change, our new CEO, and the expansion of our plant signal the awakening of a company known as the ‘quiet giant’ of laminate flooring.”
The company is changing its name and logo in all eight countries where it operates to reflect this pooling of expertise, intensifying R&D, and forging of a common identity. According to Ines Kaindl, president of the board of directors of the Swiss Krono Group headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, “We want to leverage a strong, uniform brand to spotlight our tradition and history while making a greater international impact. This will enable us to help shape the market’s future.” The group’s member firms in Germany, Poland, Russia and Switzerland unveiled the new corporate design at a shared stand at Domotex 2016.
“This consistent image and our modern, visually striking new logo are giving the Group a single face with a clear profile,” said Max von Tippelskirch, CMO of the Swiss Krono Group. “We are clearly differentiating ourselves from our competitors and strengthening our presence in the global marketplace.”
Barnwell, S.C.—KronotexUSA has promoted long-time employee Mike Havas to vice president of brand sales for its American Concepts laminate collection, sold through specialty retailers.
Havas has been involved with KronotexUSA sales leadership for about 10 years, most recently as sales manager for the Eastern U.S. He has 34 years of industry experience including positions with Congoleum, Bayard Sales and Apollo Distributing.
“Mike has a solid reputation in our industry and was instrumental in the success of Formica Flooring and launching American Concepts in 2014,” said Travis Bass, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “His knowledge of the retail and distributor businesses is a true asset for our company.”
Havas replaces Fred Giuggio, who has left KronotexUSA.
Columbia, S.C—Swiss Krono Group, one of the world’s leading producers of engineered wood products, and its American subsidiary, KronotexUSA, plans to expand its existing operations in Barnwell County, S.C. The company is investing $230 million to build a high-density fiberboard (HDF) mill and expand its laminate flooring production, creating 105 new jobs over the next few years.
This expansion will allow KronotexUSA to produce 300,000 cubic meters of HDF per year, which the company will use for laminate flooring manufacturing operations and sell to furniture, cabinet, fixture, door and other wood-based manufacturers. In total, the project will increase the company’s annual laminate flooring capacity by an additional 8 million square meters.
Preliminary engineering has been completed and construction is expected to start by mid-2016, with HDF operations to begin by the summer of 2018. Once completed, this expansion will increase KronotexUSA’s Barnwell County’s workforce to 275 employees.
“South Carolina has been a great investment partner for European countries,” said Max Von Tippelskirch, member of the Swiss Krono Group management board.
Barnwell, S.C.—KronotexUSA, a leading manufacturer of laminate flooring products, has appointed Zeb Portanova as president and CEO, effective February 1. KronotexUSA is a subsidiary of the Swiss Krono Group headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland and operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility here.
“Zeb is a proven leader with deep operations, technology and business experience,” said Max Von Tippelskirch, member of the Swiss Krono Group management board. “He is well known for his collaborative style of leadership with partners, customers and employees. We are looking forward to the energy and creativity he will bring to the U.S. operation.”
Portanova succeeds Norman Voss, who has served as KronotexUSA interim CEO since March 2014. Voss will remain with the company as a member of the board of directors and will continue to be actively involved in future expansion, investment and raw material sourcing activities for KronotexUSA.
“I am very pleased that Mr. Voss will remain in an active role on the board and I look forward to having his experience and guidance as we move forward,” Portanova said.
Prior to joining Kronotex USA, Portanova held a variety of leadership positions at Eli Lilly and other nonprofit and for-profit companies.
Barnwell, S.C.—KronotexUSA, one of the leading U.S. laminate manufacturers, dedicated its employee golf tournament to honor a recently deceased employee. The Dean Scarbeary Memorial Golf Tournament for Charity is scheduled for June 27 and has already raised more than $7,500.
Scarbeary, receiving lead at KronotexUSA’s laminate flooring plant here, was one of the organizers of the annual employee golf tournament and worked at the plant for nine years.
The funds raised will be donated to the Barnwell County First Responders who tried to save Scarbeary during the house fire that claimed his life. “Our company has put down deep roots in Barnwell since building our 575,000-square-foot facility here in 2005,” said Jeff Martin, human resources manager for KronotexUSA. “We see this as just another way to thank those in our community who tried to help one of our own.”