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LG's Jay Vandenbree Plots Expansion

11/08/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Preceding his company’s
annual dealer meeting in San Antonio last
week, LG Electronics USA’s sales senior VP Jay
Vandenbree shared some insights into his new role
and the goals he hopes to achieve with the South
Korean-based manufacturer following his long tenure
with Sony Electronics.

Vandenbree was elevated to sales senior VP for
combined consumer electronics and major appliances
following the departure of former CE and
major appliances sales president John Herrington
last May. Earlier he had served for 23 years at Sony
Electronics in the U.S., last holding the position of
sales president.

In his new position, Vandenbree will oversee LG’s
ongoing move to expand the brand across a wider
range of retail distribution channels, after it had established
a more restricted profile as a resource,
primarily for accounts with directed sales floors that
could sell the company’s value-added message.
But over the past year, the brand has moved select
television models and other products into mass merchants,
including Walmart, warehouse clubs and
other mass merchants, following the migration path
taken by most other top
tier brands.

In his talk with TWICE
Vandenbree outlined
some other LG plans and
strategies:

TWICE: What is your
primary goal coming into
your new role?

Vandenbree: LG has
some tremendous product.
It looks as good off
as it does on. Where we
need to do a better job, and we are doing a better
job, is focusing on consumers and our customers,
and that’s part of what I’m doing now. Our marketing
department is working hard on the consumer
part, and I’m working hard on the customer part. To
be a better partner in this world we are in is showing
everyone how to make money, and we have to
show how being a partner with us is better than any
other option that’s there, and that’s what I’m going
to bring to the table.

TWICE: What product categories are going to
get your closest attention?

Vandenbree: All of them. From the electronics
side to the appliance side there is something to offer
across the board. All of our products are important,
and they all bring value to the customer, so my focus
goes completely across the board.

TWICE: Do you have any particular market share
goals you will be trying to achieve at LG?

Vandenbree: We don’t talk about our market
share, specifically, but we are happy where our market
share is going. We’ve made some great strides
this year with our new customers and our existing
customers. We’ve grown all the way across the
board, so we are pretty happy with our performance,
and that is in excess of what most of the industry has
done this year.

TWICE: LG has a presence in virtually every display
technology segment of the market. Which of
those will present the greatest growth opportunity
for the company in the year ahead?


Vandenbree: I think there is great opportunity for
us all across the display category because of what
we focus on first, and that is the product. We have
great looking product that performs very well, and it
adds the features that consumers ask for in connectivity,
its remote control and how that works, and how
it seamlessly transfers content. It has all of the functions
that consumers want and that always creates
growth. If you answer the consumers’ desires about
what they want do, that’s how the company grows.

TWICE: Do you expect to see LG as a top-three
market share brand in television in the next five
years?

Vandenbree: Absolutely. We expect to be the
No. 1 brand in all of our categories. There is no other
goal than No. 1.

TWICE: To achieve that in television you have to
go up against the current No. 1 brand in Samsung,
which has been very aggressive in product development,
marketing and advertising. Can you match
that level of spending?


Vandenbree: It is all in the value proposition
to the consumer. There is no one more important
than that. That is who buys our product. Consumers
don’t always buy promotion, and they don’t buy
margin or some other things. They buy great value
propositions for them, and that’s where we have to
compete — by providing
great value propositions
for the consumer.

TWICE: Do you have
any new strategies or programs
to address the A/V
specialty and custom-installation
channels?


Vandenbree: We have
programs for all of our
customers. What we look
for in those channels is to
deliver product that is very
special. So when you see our new 3D projector, that
is a product that is very special. It is just so fun to
watch and something that the custom installers are
going to want. The same goes for our 9500-series
products and our THX-certified displays. We look
for all of those things that add value to each of our
channels. So [the new 3D video projector] is great
for them.

TWICE: What sort of future do you see ahead for
3D TV?

Vandenbree: I think 3D is an important technology
whose future is ahead of it. But we can’t forget
that the products and technologies we provide in
3D TV make great 2D televisions as well. We are focusing
on the fact that all of our televisions deliver a
great picture and the ones that are 3D add a strong
added value for that capability. I think consumers
appreciate that the television they are buying is the
right HD television for them, and it also provides 3D
capability when they want to watch that.

TWICE: What is your strategy for moving LG into
the mass merchants? Is Walmart going to be big
part of your future direction?


Vandenbree: We sell Walmart today, and we are
clearly making sure our product is within arm’s reach
of the consumers. Some of our consumers shop at
mass merchants, so we are going to have product
there for them. Some of our consumers shop at the
clubs, so we will have product there. Some of them
are in A/V specialtym and some of them are in custom
install. We will have product wherever the consumer
shops.

TWICE: How do you bring 3D TV into a Walmart
type of environment?

Vandenbree: I think technology goes to wherever
the consumer wants to buy it. It isn’t a matter of
keeping anyone happy except the consumer. If the
consumer expects to buy a certain technology from
a mass merchant, we will provide it to the mass merchants.
If they would rather buy it in an A/V specialist,
we will sell it there, and if they want it from both,
we will find a way to sell it to both and keep balancing
the market.

TWICE: Are you satisfied with the retail distribution
base you have today, or will you be looking to
expand further into new accounts?


Vandenbree: Right now, I won’t make any comments
about expanding our distribution, but there
again it is a consumer-driven move. We will be wherever
the consumer wants to buy us.

TWICE: Do you see any particular distribution
channel that might need more attention than the others
in your mix?

Vandenbree: Our stance right now is that we are
in a good position where we are. Our products support
all of the channels we are in today and [appeal]
to the consumers we are trying to reach.

TWICE: What are you bringing with you from
Sony into this new role at LG?

Vandenbree: I would say I bring experience, not
necessarily what I learned at Sony or didn’t learn at
Sony, but I’ve had a lot of experience in the industry
with our retail partners, working with consumers directly,
and I bring my wealth of experience, and that’s
where I think I can help: bringing things that have
worked that I like and things that haven’t worked, that
I think we should stay away from. I have also learned
some things from LG. LG has done a tremendous job
in our industry. The growth that they’ve had over the
past several years has been outstanding.

Vandenbree
Bio

Experience: A
23-year Sony
Electronics veteran, Jay
Vandenbree joined LG
Electronics USA in September
2009 as go-to-market
operations senior VP, and
was appointed sales senior
VP in May 2010.

Vandenbree assumed responsibility for leading the
U.S. sales organization for LG’s home entertainment
and home appliance products, following the departure
of John Herrington, former LG sales president of the
combined consumer electronics and major appliance
operations, who moved on to Sharp Electronics.

Over his 23-year career at Sony Electronics,
Vandenbree held key sales operations positions,
most recently serving as president of consumer sales
from 2006-2009. At that time, he was responsible
for Sony’s U.S. consumer sales strategy with retail
partners and direct businesses, and was recognized
by the Home Theater Specialists of America as 2009
Man of the Year. He earlier served as Sony’s strategic
sales planning senior VP.

Education: Vandenbree has a Bachelor of Science
degree in industrial relations and management from
Seton Hall University.

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