By JACK WEATHERLY
Promoting from within has always been a way to build esprit de corps in the corporate world.
But selecting Kevin Brown as president of Viking Range stands to double the positive effects.
Brown will be responsible for the overall operations, sales and engineering initiatives at Greenwood-based Viking Range, according to a release from the Middleby Corp., which bought Viking more than three years ago for $380 million.
Since joining Viking Range in 2007, Brown has held several senior engineering positions in the company.
Middleby sued Viking founder Fred E. Carl Jr. and other former top officers of the upscale kitchen appliance maker last fall, seeking $100 million. The complaint alleges that Carl and the other defendants withheld knowledge of defects in the stoves’ design that allowed them to start up on their own. The case is still pending.
Under Brown’s direction, an “entirely redesigned line of Viking products for all appliances was manufactured under new, rigorous quality-testing processes,” a Middleby release issued July 5 said. “This redesign of every product in a short period of time resulted in significant improvements in reliability and performance across all Viking product categories.”
“Kevin has been an effective and respected leader with Viking customers, employees and vendors over the past several years, and he has proven time and time again that he can deliver results,” said Selim A. Bassoul, chairman and chief executive of The Middleby Corp.
Brown said: “I am proud to lead Viking into a new era with our redesigned and award-winning residential technologies,” said “Viking is a well-known, established brand and we now have everything in place to move forward and grow with our new product offerings and by expanding our domestic and global reach.”
Brown brings more than 25 years of domestic and global appliance experience to his new position.
Most recently he was vice president of operations and engineering. Before joining Viking Range, Brown was in management positions at Whirlpool and Maytag in Jackson, Tenn. and Oxford, Miss.
He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. He has achieved BlackBelt Operational Excellence, as well as LeanSigma Design for Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing certification.
He has been active with the United Way of Leflore County. Brown lives in Greenwood with his wife and two children.
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