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Electrolux has named Keith McCloughlin president of Electrolux Home Products (EHP) North America, the company's U.S.-based major appliance unit.
The appointment fills a void left by the reassignment last summer of Frigidaire president Bob Cook as president of Electrolux's North American consumer outdoor products business. Cook had originally held that post until 1997, when the appliance and outdoor units were merged under his management.
Electrolux announced plans last summer to once again separate the two North American businesses, mirroring the structure of the company's European division.
McCloughlin, currently VP and general manager of DuPont Nonwovens, was also named a corporate executive VP. He will report directly to Electrolux president/ CEO Hans Straberg, while Cook will report to Johann Bygge, who oversees the Swedish corporation's consumer outdoor products operations.
McCloughlin assumes his new duties March 17 and will be based here.
In other Electrolux news, the company has finalized its decision to shut its sole U.S. room air factory this June or July, and to begin importing ACs from its Brazilian facility and outside suppliers effective with the 2004 season. The move, which will affect about 1,350 workers at the Edison, N.J. plant, was first floated last December as part of a global cost-cutting effort that will consolidate operations and pare Electrolux's workforce by 6 percent worldwide. (See TWICE, Dec. 23, 2002, p. 6.)
"It is very unfortunate that global business conditions, cost pressures and price erosion have combined to make it necessary to discontinue product at the Edison factory," said EHP VP Roger Leon. The company said it is preparing to meet with its unions to "arrange for a mutually beneficial process for meeting customer commitments for the 2003 season and achieving an orderly closing of the facility."
Jay Penney, VP sales and marketing in North America, reiterated the company's commitment to the category, adding "We look forward to increasing our presence in the room air conditioner business in the years ahead."
Elsewhere, Electrolux has expanded its Classic Series refrigeration line with a collection of retro-styled units featuring a smooth, lacquered finish and a raised, 1950s era Frigidaire logo in script.
"Consumers are increasingly looking for the high-gloss finishes and retro accents popular in the 1940s and 1950s," said Electrolux senior industrial designer Doug Ritterling, "but they also want value-priced, high-performance appliances that meet today's busy lifestyle."
The Classic Series was introduced last year as a full collection of stainless steel refrigerators, ranges and dishwashers. The new additions, in side-by-side and top-mount, were unveiled to Canadian dealers in January and will be a centerpiece of the company's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show presentation this April in Orlando, Fla.