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Home Depot Appliance Boss Bob Baird Stepping Down

Bob Baird, who helped make The Home Depot a destination for major appliances, is leaving the chain after 15 years.

The merchandising VP will formally step down May 1, when he passes his responsibilities to David Passafiume and enters semi-retirement.

Passafiume, who worked under Baird as a refrigerator merchant and divisional merchandise manager, currently serves as merchandising VP for lighting at the No. 1 home-improvement chain.

Baird started out 50 years ago selling appliances at Montgomery Ward, and eventually joined Home Depot in 2001 as a global appliance merchant with the task of building its largely GE-based business. As a divisional merchandise manager and later merchandising VP for kitchen and appliances, he brought the core Whirlpool, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Samsung and LG brands on board, and over the past 10 years nearly doubled the company’s white-goods sales to more than $4.8 billion, behind only Lowe’s and Sears, according to TWICE’s annual appliance retailer rankings.

Prior to Home Depot, Baird held a series of senior marketing, merchandising and management posts at storied retailers Wards, The Good Guys, Circuit City, and Fred Schmid, the Colorado CE and majap chain.

Before that, he worked as a regional manager and market analyst for Maytag, and began his career as a warehouse worker and appliance sales associate at Wards.

Looking ahead, Baird plans to consult part time in addition to more leisurely pursuits.