Corporate Governance - Board of Directors
Kurt L. DarrowChairman of the Board
Kurt Darrow has been a director, and our president and chief executive officer from 2003 through April 2021. He was named chairman in 2011. Since joining the company in 1979, he served in positions of increasing responsibility, including president of La Z Boy Residential, our largest division. He also serves as a director of CMS Energy Corp. He is a member of the Business Leaders for Michigan and serves on its board and executive committee. He served as chairman of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and continues to serve as director emeritus on its board. He is a member of the ProMedica Board of Trustees and Chairman of the ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital Board of Trustees. He is also a former Trustee of Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan.Chairman of the Board
Melinda D. WhittingtonPresident and Chief Executive Officer
Melinda Whittington became President and Chief Executive Officer of La-Z-Boy Incorporated in April 2021. From June 2018 until her appointment, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company, where she led the global finance and accounting team. Before joining La-Z-Boy, Ms. Whittington was the Chief Financial Officer of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. and prior to that, she was Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (now The Kraft Heinz Company). From 1993 to 2014, Ms. Whittington held various finance leadership roles at Procter and Gamble, including Finance Director, Global Home Products; Finance Director, North America Home Care and Global Surface Care Brand Franchise; Finance Director, Corporate Accounting; and Associate Finance Director for Global Business Services. Her roles included international experiences in Belgium and Costa Rica.
Sarah M. Gallagher
Sarah Gallagher joined our board in 2016. She currently sits on the board of Abercrombie and Fitch Co. and serves as an Executive Advisor of FitforCommerce (retail consultants focused on helping retailers for ecommerce). Ms. Gallagher previously served as Executive Chairperson of the Rebecca Taylor woman’s fashion brand, where she was interim chief executive officer with responsibility for the wholesale, stores and e-commerce businesses. Ms. Gallagher served as President of Ralph Lauren North America e-Commerce and as President of Ralph Lauren Media LLC, Polo.com, where she led all aspects of Ralph Lauren’s e-Commerce business for 12 years to a position of industry leadership and collaborated on its expansion into European markets. Prior to her tenure with the Ralph Lauren organization, Ms. Gallagher served as Senior Vice President, Banana Republic Direct, and Senior Vice President, Gap Direct, divisions of Gap, Inc., where she was directly responsible for the launch of the Banana Republic catalog, website, and all aspects of its e-Commerce business. Prior to joining Gap, Inc., Ms. Gallagher served as Vice President, Apparel, Jewelry and Accessories for Avon Products, Inc.; Vice President and General Merchandise Manager, Intimate Apparel and then Executive Vice President, Merchandising of Victoria’s Secret Catalogue; and in various roles with Lord & Taylor.
James P. Hackett
Jim Hackett joined the La-Z-Boy board in 2021. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company from 2017 through 2020, and was also a member of the company’s board of directors. Most recently, he served as a Special Advisor to Ford until his retirement in March 2021. Under his leadership as President and CEO, Ford moved aggressively into the new era of smart vehicles. At the same time, he strengthened the company’s base business by restructuring operations and invigorating the product portfolio. Before serving as CEO, Mr. Hackett was Chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary of Ford. Prior to executive positions at Ford, he spent 30 years at Steelcase, the global leader in office furniture, serving 20 years as CEO before his retirement from the position in 2014. He served as Vice Chairman of Steelcase from 2014 to 2015. A visionary, Mr. Hackett predicted that the office landscape would shift from cubicles to an open seating environment.
Janet E. Kerr
A director since 2009, Janet Kerr is currently Vice Chancellor of Pepperdine University and Professor Emeritus of the Pepperdine University School of Law. Ms. Kerr founded and served as executive director of the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law at Pepperdine Law School. She also founded several technology companies, including X-Laboratories, which she co-founded with HRL Laboratories, LLC to assist in the commercialization of technologies in research institutions. She served as Chief Strategy Officer of Exemplify, Inc., a technology knowledge management company, acquired by Bloomberg BNA. Professor Kerr was the first professor to hold the Laure Sudreau-Rippe Endowed Chair at Pepperdine University School of Law and is a nationally recognized author, lecturer, and consultant in the area of securities law compliance, banking law, corporate governance, and general corporate law. Ms. Kerr serves on the boards of directors of App Folio, Inc., and Tilly’s, Inc., and previously served on the boards of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. and TCW Strategic Income Fund, Inc. Ms. Kerr has also served as an advisor on corporate issues and entrepreneurial strategies to the People’s Republic of China, France, and Thailand and has represented the U.S. Department of Commerce as a speaker at international events.
Michael T. Lawton (Lead Director)
Michael Lawton, who has been a director since 2013, currently serves as our lead director. Mr. Lawton retired from Domino’s Pizza, Inc., where he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer and previously served in various management roles, including interim chief information officer, and executive vice president of international. Prior to joining Domino’s, Mr. Lawton was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Gerber Products Company, now a subsidiary of Nestle S.A. Mr. Lawton began his career at Ernst & Whinney, now Ernst & Young. He also serves on the board of Universal Corporation.
H. George Levy M.D.
Dr. Levy has been a director since 1997. He currently practices Otorhinolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery. He advises several private companies and start-ups in various sectors, including Technology and Pharmaceutical. Dr. Levy has recently been granted a patent on an anti-cancer molecule.
W. Alan McCollough
Alan McCollough joined our board in 2007. Mr. McCollough retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. He currently serves on the boards of VF Corporation, where he chairs the nominating and governance committee, and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
Rebecca L. O’Grady
Rebecca O’Grady, who joined our board in 2019, retired from General Mills, where she served most recently as president of Global Häagen-Dazs and chief marketing officer for international marketing, e-commerce and consumer insights. At General Mills, Ms. O’Grady previously served as president of the Yoplait USA division. She joined General Mills in 1990 and held leadership roles in a variety of divisions and brands, including Yoplait, Cheerios, Progresso and Betty Crocker.
Lauren B. Peters
Lauren Peters, who joined our board in 2016, retired from Foot Locker, Inc., where she served most recently as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Ms. Peters began her career at Arthur Andersen & Company before moving to May Department Stores, were she eventually become division vice president and assistant controller. She currently serves on the board of Allegion plc, and is expected to serve on the board of Victoria’s Secret, pending L. Brands, Inc.’s spin-off of Victoria’s Secret into an independent, public company.
Dr. Nido R. Qubein
Dr. Nido Qubein joined our board in 2006. He has been president of High Point University since 2005 and executive chairman (beginning 2016) of the board of Great Harvest Bread Company, a bakery franchisor, and formerly chairman. He serves as a director of BB&T Corporation, where he has chaired its executive committee, and nThrive, Inc. Dr. Qubein is a successful, sought-after professional speaker known for engaging audiences with topics covering change, leadership, and branding, and he has written a dozen books and recorded scores of audio and video learning programs translated into many languages.