Herman Miller, Inc. earlier this week announced that Brian C. Walker plans to retire as President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors by August 31, 2018. To ensure an orderly transition, Mr. Walker will remain in those roles until the appointment of his successor.
The Board has established a CEO Search Committee composed of independent directors and will retain a leading executive search firm to help identify and evaluate internal and external candidates to lead Herman Miller. Mr. Walker will assist the Board in this process.
Herman Miller ready for the new workplace era
“After a terrific 29-year career at Herman Miller, including 14 years as President and CEO, now is the right time to transition the Company to its next generation of leadership,” said Mr. Walker. “Over the past 10 years, we have been relentlessly focused on expanding our addressable market and developing the building blocks necessary to navigate the changes we predicted would impact the core office furniture marketplace. Our Living Office strategy has repositioned the Company to lead in this new workplace era, and we have significantly expanded our potential for long-term growth by developing a strong global footprint and moving beyond the office to help people create inspiring places to heal, learn and live. Our global network of contract dealers, retail studios and e-commerce is unique and provides a significant competitive advantage. Today, Herman Miller comprises a group of leading brands united by our focus on innovation and human centered design.”
Mr. Walker continued, “Our focus on relationships and willingness to abandon ourselves to great ideas has enabled us to nurture and expand our network of creative partners. With the help of these partners, we are building on the legacy of innovation and design excellence that is at the heart of Herman Miller. Because of our outstanding work, this past year we were once again named the #1 Brand that Inspires on Contract Magazine’s Brand Report. The Board of Directors and I are pleased with the progress we have made on the five strategic priorities we outlined last year, and we remain committed to these priorities as we focus on maintaining our momentum.”
Michael Volkema, Executive Chairman of Herman Miller, said, “On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Brian for his countless contributions to Herman Miller over the past 29 years. His deep commitment and remarkable leadership have enabled Herman Miller to become the global industry leader it is today. During Brian’s tenure, Herman Miller has become a lean enterprise that keeps its promises and strives to improve each and every day. With Brian’s assistance, the Board will conduct a comprehensive search to identify the next President and CEO, and we are committed to ensuring a smooth transition. We wish Brian all the best in his retirement, and look forward to his continued involvement with the Company during this leadership transition period.”
Mr. Walker concluded, “I want to thank our talented Executive Leadership Team and the 8,000 employees who make Herman Miller great. We are fortunate to have a deep bench of leaders and some of the best employees in the industry throughout the organization, and I am confident that Herman Miller is well-positioned for continued growth. It has been an honor to serve this company, and I look forward to working closely with the Board and my successor to ensure a seamless transition for all of our stakeholders.”
Updated earnings per share and sales guidance for Q3-2018
Herman Miller also today reaffirmed its sales guidance and updated its earnings per share guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2018. The updated earnings guidance now reflects the impact of new U.S. income tax legislation as well as transition expenses and other special charges expected to be recognized in the quarter. Net sales are expected to be in the range of $565 million to $585 million. On a GAAP basis, diluted earnings per share in the quarter is expected to range between $0.38 and $0.42.
This estimate includes pre-tax transition expenses and other special charges in the quarter of approximately $4 million. It also reflects initial transition and re-measurement impacts of the new tax legislation. Excluding these items, adjusted diluted earnings per share are estimated to range between $0.48 and $0.52. This range reflects an update to the Company’s previous tax rate guidance, which was prepared prior to the enactment of the new U.S. tax legislation signed into law in December 2017. The Company expects to report a GAAP effective tax rate for the third quarter of between 33% and 35%. On an adjusted basis, excluding the initial transition and re-measurement impacts of the new tax legislation, the effective tax rate for the quarter is expected to range between 25% and 27%. This legislation is new and it is possible that there will be further guidance from the U.S. Treasury and others regarding its interpretation and/or application, which could result in adjustments to our estimated income tax rates.