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R. Stephen Stagner is the Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board. In his role, he is responsible for the successful integration of recent acquisitions, investor communications and the long-term strategic vision for the Company. He joined the Company as Chief Operating Officer in 2005 as a result of the merger between Mattress Firm and his former Mattress Firm franchise. From 2006 until his promotion in 2010, Mr. Stagner served as the Company's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2010 and served as the CEO of Mattress Firm until March 2016. He oversaw Mattress Firm’s initial public offering in 2011 and guided the Company’s growth from $400 million in sales to over $3.5 billion in pro forma sales in 2015. Mr. Stagner has over 20 years of experience in the bedding industry, including employment with mattress manufacturers Sealy Corporation and Simmons Bedding Company, and owning and operating the largest franchise in the Mattress Firm network. Mr. Stagner has also served in various capacities with the Mattress Firm Foundation, including as its President since January 2011 and director from January 2007 until December 2010. Mr. Stagner also serves as director of Rousche College of Business Advisory Council at Stephen F. Austin State University.
William E. Watts joined the Company as a Director in January 2007. Mr. Watts is also a Partner of J.W. Childs, one of the Company's affiliates. Prior to joining J.W. Childs in 2001, Mr. Watts was President and Chief Executive Officer of General Nutrition Companies, Inc. from 1991 until 2001. Prior to being named President and Chief Executive Officer in 1991, Mr. Watts held the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer of General Nutrition, President and Chief Operating Officer of General Nutrition Center, Senior Vice President of Retailing and Vice President of Retail Operations. Mr. Watts currently serves as Chairman of the board of JA Apparel Corp. and Tile Shop Holdings, Inc., is a director of Brookstone, Inc. and, until 2012, was a director at EmployBridge, Inc. and Fitness Quest, Inc. Mr. Watts's experience as a director of various companies, including Mattress Firm, as well as his experience as Chief Executive Officer of a company with a well-known brand, led to the conclusion that he should serve as a director of the Company.
John W. Childs joined the Company as a Director in August 2007. Mr. Childs has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of J.W. Childs, one of the Company's affiliates, since 1995. From 1991 to 1995, Mr. Childs was Senior Managing Director of the Thomas H. Lee Partners and from 1987 to 1990 was a Managing Director of Thomas H. Lee Partners. Prior to 1987, Mr. Childs was associated with the Prudential Insurance Company of America for 17 years where he held various executive positions in the investment area, ultimately serving as Senior Managing Director in charge of the Capital Markets Group at which time he was responsible for Prudential's approximately $77 billion fixed income portfolio, including all the Capital Markets Group's investments in leveraged acquisitions. He is currently a director of Sunny Delight Beverages Co., Esselte Ltd. and Simcon, Inc. and was a director at Advantage Sales and Marketing, Inc. and CHG Healthcare Services, Inc. Mr. Childs's experience serving as a director of various companies, including his experience with Mattress Firm, and his expertise in private equity led to the conclusion that he should serve as a director of the Company.
Joseph M. Fortunato joined the Company as a Director in October 2012. Mr. Fortunato currently serves as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (NYSE: GNC). Mr. Fortunato became a member of the GNC board of directors in March 2007, and has served as Chief Executive Officer or President and Chief Executive Officer of GNC since November 2005. Mr. Fortunato served as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of GNC from June 2005 until November 2005. Beginning in November 2001 until June 2005, Mr. Fortunato served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of General Nutrition Companies, Inc. From October 2000 until November 2001, he served as its Executive Vice President of Retail Operations and Store Development. Mr. Fortunato began his employment with General Nutrition Companies, Inc. in October 1990 and has held various positions, including Senior Vice President of Financial Operations from 1997 to 1998, and Director of Financial Operations from 1990 to 1997. In addition to serving on the board of directors of GNC and the Company, Mr. Fortunato currently serves on the board of directors of KUE Management Inc., a provider of education programs and services, and Sprout Farmers Markets, LLC, a specialty grocery chain operating in eight states. Mr. Fortunato's years of experience with a publicly-traded retail company, both as a director and a member of management, and his perspective of day-to-day operations in the retail industry led to the conclusion that he should serve as a director of the Company.
Adam L. Suttin joined the Company as a Director in August 2007 and was a member of the Audit Committee until his resignation from the committee in February 2012. Mr. Suttin is also a Partner of one of the Company's affiliates, J.W. Childs, which he co-founded in July 1995. Previously, Mr. Suttin was an Associate at Thomas H. Lee Partners, where he was employed from 1989 until 1995. Mr. Suttin is currently a director of Brookstone, Inc., The Nutrasweet Company, Sunny Delight Beverages Co., JA Apparel Corp. and Esselte Ltd., and was a director at Advantage Sales and Marketing, Inc. from March 2006 until December 2010. Mr. Suttin's experience as a co-founder of J.W. Childs, coupled with his experience as a director of various companies, including Mattress Firm, led to the conclusion that Mr. Suttin should serve as a director of the Company.
Robert E. Creager joined the Company as a Director in June 2014. Mr. Creager has over 40 years of public accounting and industry experience. He joined the Houston office of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP in 1980 and became Assurance Partner in 1982, a position he held until his retirement from practice in 2009. He served as Audit Practice Leader for the Houston office of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP from 2001 to 2007. Mr. Creager is a certified public accountant and serves as a director of USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) and Houston International Insurance Group, Ltd. Since 2010, he has also acted as Director and Treasurer of the Texas Tri-Cities Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and is a NACD Governance Fellow. Mr. Creager served on the board of directors of GeoMet, Inc. (OTC: GMET), a company engaged in the exploration for and the development and production of natural gas from coal seams, from 2011 until 2013. Mr. Creager's extensive financial experience and his corporate governance knowledge and insight, as well as his ability, as a Houston resident, to advise management locally, led to the conclusion that he should serve as a director of the Company.
Dale R. Carlsen became the Company's President and Chief Strategy Officer on October 20, 2014, in connection with the consummation of the Company's acquisition of Sleep Train. Mr. Carlsen founded Sleep Train in 1985 and served as its chief executive officer since the company's formation. Mr. Carlsen entered the industry in 1980, while still in college, working for California Mattress Company, a Lady Americana manufacturer. He also serves as a director of Ticket to Dream Foundation, a public charitable foundation supporting foster children and other charitable causes. Mr. Carlsen's experience as the Company's President and Chief Strategy Officer, and his former experience as chief executive officer of The Sleep Train, Inc., coupled with his in-depth knowledge of the Company's industry, led to the conclusion that he should serve as a director of the Company
Mr. Hadley is a Managing Director with Berkshire Partners, LLC, a Boston-based private equity firm that has raised nine private equity funds with aggregate capital commitments of over $16 billion, and has extensive experience with retail and consumer goods companies. Mr. Hadley joined Berkshire Partners in 1998 and became a Managing Director in 2006. Prior to joining Berkshire Partners, Mr. Hadley worked as a consultant in the Private Equity Practice at Bain & Co. He also worked in the consumer products industry consulting to General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Borden Foods in the areas of marketing and product development. Since 2012 Mr. Hadley has served on the board of directors of Farm Boy, Inc., a Canada-based grocery retailer, and is the chairman of Farm Boy's board of directors and also member of its audit committee. Mr. Hadley has also, since 2006, served on the board of NEW Asurion Corporation, a provider of wireless subscriber services and consumer product protection programs. He previously served on the board of directors, as a member of the audit committee, of each of Grocery Outlet, Inc., a grocery retailer, from 2009 until 2015, and of Masterplan, Inc., a provider of medical equipment services, from 2007 until 2011. Mr. Hadley is a member of the Board of Trustees of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Belmont Hill School. The Board has nominated Mr. Hadley to serve as a director because of his knowledge of acquisitions and capital market transactions, his years of experience in the private equity industry and experience as a director of retail industry companies, as well his breadth of board experience.
Mr. Seetharam is a Managing Director with Stockbridge Partners, LLC, an investment group affiliated with Berkshire Partners focused on marketable securities with assets under management of nearly $2 billion. Mr. Seetharam joined Stockbridge Partners in February 2007 as a member of the Stockbridge investment team and became a Managing Director in December 2014. Prior to joining Stockbridge Partners in 2007, Mr. Seetharam was previously an associate at Berkshire Partners, a business analyst at McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm, and a vice president at Reservoir Capital, an investment firm. The Board has nominated Mr. Seetharam to be a director because of his knowledge of public markets and private company dynamics based on his years of experience in investing in the public and private equity markets.
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