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Nationwide Team Moves Up In Rank

Winston-Salem, N.C. – The Nationwide Marketing Group has announced a series of senior-level promotions effective with the new year.

 Under the succession plan, COO Les Kirk will share the leadership of the $14 billion buying group with Robert Weisner as co-CEO. Both will oversee Nationwide’s operations and finances.

“Les has played a pivotal role in the success of our company during his 25-plus years here,” Weisner said in a statement. “I am very excited to move forward in this partnership with him.”

Succeeding Kirk as COO with the added title of president, which Weisner will relinquish, is executive VP Dave Bilas. Bilas joined Nationwide three years ago from GE Appliances.

“I think Dave’s leadership qualities, fundamental understanding of the business and his intimate relationships with retailers across the country will be key in his new role here at Nationwide,” said Kirk. “His experience in both the CE and major appliance categories enables Dave to remain a huge resource for our independent retailers.”

Succeeding Bilas as executive VP overseeing the group’s merchandising and marketing initiatives is senior appliances VP Jeff Knock. Knock, who joined Nationwide from Electrolux just under three years ago, “has developed foundational relationships with our vendor partners and has a strong background in the merchandising business, as well as the implementation of marketing strategies for our retailers,” Bilas said.

Knock’s initiatives have included the integration of a step-up “draw-escape-sell” strategy; the launch of a mobile tablet for sales associates and back-room integration; and his role in the recruitment of several larger dealer members.

Knock’s appliance successor is expected to be announced in early January.

Added Weisner: “Nationwide consistently strives to be a progressive company and fulfill the needs of our 3,500-plus member retailers and vendor partners by establishing a team of innovators that understand the changing dynamics and demands in our industry. As we continue to plan for the future, we are ready to hit the ground running for an incredible and successful 2014.”

Nationwide’s independent majap, CE and home furnishings dealers operate over 10,000 showrooms and generate a combined $14 billion in annual sales.