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Haier America Names New Chief Exec

New YorkShariff Kan has stepped down as president/CEO of Haier America and will be succeeded by Whirlpool engineering veteran Adrian Micu.

Kan, a 35-year industry veteran, joined Haier America in 1999 as merchandising VP following stints at The Wiz and Bloomingdales. He was promoted to executive VP in 2005 and succeeded company founder Michael Jemal as president in 2009.

In a statement, Haier said Kan led the CE and majap manufacturer from “a trading operation in its early days to a respected supplier of home appliance and consumer electronics in North America. His management proved instrumental during Haier’s initial entrance into the U.S., playing a pivotal role in establishing partnerships with some of the largest national and regional retailers in the country. His many contributions to Haier America are greatly appreciated.”

His successor joined Whirlpool in 1999 as a refrigeration engineering general manager and took an early retirement last fall as global engineering VP after 25 years with the company.

Haier noted Micu’s executive-level engineering, technology and product development experience within the appliance industry, and said his “demonstrated ability to accelerate growth by applying innovative technologies coupled with his proven track record of successfully executing new product introductions, make him the ideal executive to lead Haier.”

Micu is the third engineer to head a major majap operation in recent years, following the 2011 appointments of GE Appliances’ Chip Blankenship, a former airplane engine executive and staff scientist, and Electrolux’s Jack Truong, a former 3M executive with a background in chemical engineering.

Haier said Micu’s background will help it realize “the enormous opportunities that exist to engage and interact with customers and end users, expand market share and product portfolio, and increase revenue and profitability.”

Micu’s appointment follows that of former American TV & Appliance and Sharp Electronics exec Rian Cain as sales and marketing senior VP last June.

The hires signal a new strategic direction for the company, which is the North American unit of Haier Group, China’s largest producer of appliances.