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Executive chairman of A. O. Smith named National EY Entrepreneur of the Year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Paul W. Jones, executive chairman of A. O. Smith, has been named the National EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Distribution and Manufacturing Award winner.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.

Jones was recognized for bringing the manufacturing company to the next level of innovative strategy, business approach and new service offerings. He was honored at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation’s premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in 10 additional categories.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 250 regional award recipients.

"Jones’ bold decision-making definitely impressed our judges,’" said Bryan Pearce, EY Americas Director, Entrepreneur of the Year. "Jones helped the company grow internationally both in China and India, which are now both highly successful ventures."

"When I joined the company, we needed to rationalize the acquisitions we made in order to put the company into a more efficient operation status," Jones said. "Once our costs lowered in the marketplace, we were able to focus on bringing innovation back to the equation."

Jones joined A. O. Smith in January 2004 as president and chief operating officer, and became chairman and CEO in January 2006. He was elected to the board of directors in December 2004. Jones assumed the newly created position of executive chairman on Jan. 1, 2013.  

In addition to Jones, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Distribution and Manufacturing finalists in the US were: Gary M. Schuster, president and CEO, OMCO, based in Wickliffe, Ohio; Dr. Larry Sanders, president and CEO, Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC, based in Leawood, Kans.; and Andra Rush, founder, president and CEO, The Rush Group, based in Detroit.

Hamid Moghadam of Prologis was named the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Overall Award winner.

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Natuzzi hires Maria Rosaria Bonifacio as chief HR officer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

As part of a larger management restructuring process at the Italian furniture company, Natuzzi has hired Maria Rosaria Bonifacio to lead its human resources department as chief HR & organization officer.

Bonifacio’s new role will involve the oversight and development of the company’s international human resources programs.

“I am particularly enthusiastic about having the opportunity to join an Italian multinational group [such] as the Natuzzi Group, [which] has been the ambassador of ‘made-in-Italy’ in the world for decades,” said Bonifacio. “The training and professional growth of talent within the Group represents a strategic and fundamental component…in our production. One of my primary goals will be the development of a corporate culture that makes people’s appreciation a cornerstone for our own business."

Previously, Bonfacio worked for Ericsson as global director for outsourcing processes. She joined the company in 2001 as chief HR officer for South-East Europe, and was promoted to chief HR officer for the Business Unit Global Services in 2008.

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Home Depot sales up 7.4%

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Home Depot reported sales of $19.5 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2013, a 7.4% increase from $18.1 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2012.

On a like-for-like basis (last year’s quarter had an extra calendar week), comparable-store sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 were positive 7.4%, and comp sales for U.S. stores were positive 8.2%. 

"Our third-quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in the housing market and our solid operational performance,” said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO

Net earnings for the third quarter were $1.35 billion, compared with net earnings of $947 million in the same period of fiscal 2012. Last year’s quarter included a nonrecurring charge of approximately $165 million due to the closing of seven stores in China.

The "solid" quarter brought improved guidance. The company raised its fiscal 2013 sales guidance to 5.6%. Comparable-store sales, on a 52-week like-for-like basis, are expected to be up approximately 7.0% for the year. 

At the end of the third quarter, the company operated a total of 2,260 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.

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