Bob Baird officially stepped down this month as head of The Home Depot’s multi-billion-dollar appliance and kitchen businesses after half a century in white-goods and retail.
When TWICE asked a select handful of home appliance executives to share their thoughts on his tenure, we expected the usual platitudes (sorry guys!).
What we got instead were the warm, heartfelt remembrances of industry veterans who considered Baird far more than a customer. To them, he is a mentor, teacher, partner, inspiration, and friend.
And what emerged as the common thread across all the comments is Baird’s passion for the business and his fairness with all, which is his not-so-secret formula for success.
I HAVE KNOWN and done business with Bob for over 30 years in our industry and must acknowledge that not many have had the passion, merchandising sense, and will to drive results as Bob Baird.
He lives the appliance business every day and we will miss his presence. He is a true merchant and always drives for improvement and better results!
Best wishes in retirement Bob.
— Sam Abedelnour, North American region sales VP, Whirlpool
I MET BOB early in my career at Maytag. Coming out of the marketing program, Maytag assigned me to work under Bob, as my mentor/trainer.
As you might suspect, Bob took the responsibility very seriously and shared all the things one should know about servicing a dealership, working hand-in-hand with retail salespeople, understanding stats and trends, merchandising the line, and keeping your word to the dealer.
His teachings didn’t stop with just the work, as he took me to his gym at night to play basketball, introduced me to his family, and we shared meals together.
Throughout the 22 years I was at Maytag, I often reflected on those learnings from Bob and certainly benefitted from them.
We’ll miss working with Bob, and on behalf of all of LG, will be forever appreciative of his leadership and contributions to the U.S. major appliance industry and LG.
— John Riddle, senior sales VP, home appliance sales, LG Electronics USA
IN THE COURSE of our work we are fortunate to encounter individuals that inspire and deepen our understanding of business. Bob Baird is one of those people.
His passion for major appliances, his command of the business, and his collaborative approach are unique and memorable.
Bob makes us better.
We wish him the very best in retirement and thank him for his support and inspiration.
— John Herrington, home appliances senior VP/general manager, Samsung Electronics America
FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS Bob Baird has had a significant impact on the appliance industry.
We at GE Appliances salute and congratulate Bob on a remarkable career. His support and focus on the consumer is unparalleled.
We wish for Bob and his family a long, healthy and exciting retirement.
— Robert Posthauer, sales and marketing general manager, GE Appliances
MY CAREER EXPERIENCE with Bob began in 1986 as his Amana sales rep in Denver, when Bob was the head of merchandising for the local appliance and electronics chain Fred Schmid. So after 30 years of working with Bob, my training is nearly complete!
Bob has always possessed a strong passion for products and innovative merchandising skills, yet his legacy is punctuated by having a knack for the unconventional and a creative flair for driving sales.
Finally, Bob’s style was direct and challenging, yet non-confrontational and always fair.
I will miss Bob, and wish him and Carla the very best always!
— Mark Chambers, sales senior VP, Electrolux Major Appliances North America
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