Fontenot named WestPoint president, coo
Driving sales is top priority, Fontenot and Green agree
By Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, 12/18/2000 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK -Returning to the home textiles industry after an absence of two years, industry veteran Murray L. 'Chip' Fontenot will take the reins as president and coo of textiles giant WestPoint Stevens on Jan. 8.
He succeeds Tom Ward, who leaves the company this week after a 23-year career at J. P. Stevens and later WestPoint Stevens.
Fontenot brings with him 30 years of industry experience, a broad background in sales, marketing, operations and manufacturing, including a stint as president of the Springs Consumer Products division.
Importantly, in a tumultuous industry environment, he brings the discipline and experience of a turnaround specialist, first at Decorative Home Accents and more recently as president of apparel producer Dyersburg Corp.
Fontenot will be headquartered in New York.
Holcombe T. Green Jr., WestPoint chairman and ceo, said after a long search within and without the industry, "At the end of the day, we got the best man for the job."
Green added, "All the senior officers of the company will report to Chip, and Chip reports to me."
Green said, "We need someone who has a great sense of where the industry is headed strategically, and where the company needs to go strategically in an evolving global marketplace.
"He can grow our business beyond the traditional ways. We don't need to be 80 percent sheets and towels-as a matter of fact, it's probably a good idea if we aren't. We need to think of the world as an opportunity, not a problem. We need to think of how we can do things differently."
A priority, said both Fontenot and Green, is driving WestPoint sales higher. Green said, "We want to grow our company. It has been very frustrating this year not to grow the business. We need to get back to 5 percent to 8 percent annual sales growth. And I think we can do that with Chip."
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