OAK BROOK, Ill.--()--Ace Hardware President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Griffith has announced his plans to retire from the hardware cooperative on March 31, 2013, and the company’s Board of Directors has named Ace’s Chief Operating Officer John Venhuizen his successor.
“Ray will be deeply missed. We look forward to a successful transition ahead as Ray closes the book on his commendable Ace career.”
Effective September 1, 2012, Venhuizen assumed the role of President, while retaining his existing Chief Operating Officer duties of Ace Hardware Corporation. Griffith will maintain his role as Chief Executive Officer until his retirement.
When Griffith retires in 2013, he will have served as President, CEO or COO for more than eight years, having seen Ace through a period of dramatic change, growth and financial success. Ace’s Board of Directors and Griffith have developed this succession plan over the past three years, and Venhuizen is their clear choice.
“Ray’s decision to retire and spend more time with his family has been a deliberate and well thought-out process,” said Ace Hardware Chairman of the Board David Ziegler. “As part of the company’s succession plan, Ray and the Board have worked together on the appropriate timing that is right both for the company and for Ray personally. John has worked side-by-side with Ray for the past 14 years and has unquestionably proven his leadership abilities.”
Venhuizen Industry Experience Extensive
Venhuizen, 42, brings a wealth of experience to the position with a career already spanning more than 20 years at Ace. Since joining the cooperative in 1992, Venhuizen has served as Chief Operating Officer and as Vice President of Business Development, Retail Development, Retail Training and International. He has led many of the major business units throughout the organization, including Supply Chain, Category Management and Information Technology.
“John has already achieved tremendous success as a leader of this organization,” said Griffith. “He has played a significant role in placing a renewed emphasis on the Ace consumer, always keeping the needs of Ace’s independent retailers in mind.” Additionally, Venhuizen has improved Ace’s store model by identifying the core mix of products that can deliver the most profitable and successful outcome for Ace retailers. Moreover, Venhuizen has been integral in Ace’s store growth initiatives, putting an increased priority on new investors and catapulting Ace into the international scene with unprecedented success.
“In this most senior role, John will bring two decades of experience with the Ace Brand, his strong sense of integrity and ethics, a respected value for Ace’s rich heritage and a keen sense of how to continue to secure a bright future for this company,” said Ziegler.
Accomplishments Many During Griffith’s Tenure
Griffith has made an indelible imprint on Ace Hardware since joining the company in 1994. Under his leadership, there has been an increased and refreshed strength behind the Ace Brand.
Ace achieved many substantial goals during Griffith’s tenure as Ace’s most senior leader. He introduced and made significant progress in the company’s core business strategy, bringing renewed focus to Ace’s new store expansion efforts. Griffith significantly improved Ace’s already-strong core competencies in wholesale pricing, product selection, customer service, distribution and marketing.
Griffith’s restructuring of Ace’s Supply Chain approach through the implementation of SAP improved Ace’s extensive distribution network. Griffith expanded the company’s presence in the international arena through the subsidiary transition with its own governance and Board structure.
He enhanced Ace’s longstanding commitment to communities through increased community outreach and a solid pledge to The Ace Foundation, supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and The American Red Cross. Griffith successfully transformed Ace into an even stronger company, preserving its rich history and preparing for a robust future. During his tenure, Ace was named “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Six Years in a Row” by J.D. Power and Associates.
“Ace’s performance has been outstanding under Ray’s leadership and the company is poised for a sound future under John’s leadership – strategically, financially, operationally and from a management perspective,” said Ziegler. “Ray will be deeply missed. We look forward to a successful transition ahead as Ray closes the book on his commendable Ace career.”
About Ace Hardware
For more than 85 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the helpful hardware store in thousands of communities across America. Customers depend on Ace to help them take care of their homes quickly and easily so they can get on with their lives. In 2012, Ace ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Stores for the Sixth Consecutive Year,” according to J.D. Power and Associates. With over 4,600 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 14 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers’ stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.
Erik Gast, Vice President, Finance
Kate Kirkpatrick, Media Relations Manager
Disclaimer: Ace Hardware received the highest numerical score among retail stores in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2007-2012 Home Improvement Retail Store StudiesSM. 2012 study based on responses from 6,115 consumers measuring six stores and opinions of consumers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed January-February, 2012. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.