Our Honorees

Kurt L. Darrow
 
Clarence H. Smith
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kurt L. Darrow Biography
Kurt L. Darrow is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of La-Z-Boy Incorporated, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company with fiscal 2013 revenues of $1.35 billion.  An out-of-the-box strategist, Mr. Darrow has been heralded by Wall Street as a turnaround specialist.  During his ten-year tenure as President and CEO, he transformed all facets of the company, increasing its competitiveness in the dynamic marketplace, while repositioning the well-known La-Z-Boy brand among consumers.  Under his leadership and against the backdrop of a challenging macroeconomic environment, La-Z-Boy has posted industry-leading performance and is well positioned for growth and ongoing market share gains.
 
Before his appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer of La-Z-Boy in 2003, and Chairman in 2011, Mr. Darrow was President of La-Z-Boy Residential, the flagship (and industry-leading) brand and largest division of La-Z-Boy Incorporated.  During his 35 years with the company, it grew from one known primarily for its world-famous reclining chairs into one of the world’s leading residential home furnishings producers and retailers, marketing furniture for every room of the home.
 
Among his many career accomplishments was the rapid expansion and evolution of the company’s branded distribution system into one of the largest in the industry.  Part and parcel to that was the development of La-Z-Boy’s Integrated Retail model, which is a key component of the company’s growth strategy.  On the marketing side, Mr. Darrow also initiated a brand repositioning effort, beginning with the award-winning “New Look of Comfort” campaign, which progressed through several advertising platforms into today’s very successful “Live life comfortably” campaign, featuring spokesperson Brooke Shields.
 
Born and raised in Michigan, where La-Z-Boy is headquartered, Mr. Darrow is a Member of the Board of Directors for CMS Energy Corporation, as well as the Board and Executive Committee of Business Leaders for Michigan, and serves as Vice Chairman on the Board of Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe.   He has held numerous prominent roles within the furniture industry, including serving as Chairman of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) in 2008 and as President of the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2012, as well as an Executive Board Member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Furniture Division.
 
Mr. Darrow attended Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration.  In 2009, the College awarded him an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Human Letters) and he was privileged to give the Commencement Address to the year’s graduating class.  He also served as a Member of the college’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2011.
 
Mr. Darrow and his wife, Renee, are residents of Monroe, Michigan.  They enjoy spending time with their 15 nieces and nephews, playing golf and traveling together.  Mr. and Mrs. Darrow are active in their church and community, and support a variety of local and national philanthropic organizations.
 
Clarence H. Smith Biography
Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc. is a prominent full-service home furnishings retailer with over 100 showrooms in 16 states in the Southern and Midwestern regions.  Founded in 1885, Havertys is a true retailing institution.  The Company provides its customers with a  wide selection of quality merchandise in primarily middle to upper-middle price ranges.  Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc. has been a publicly held company since 1929.  The Company’s two classes of stock are traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbols HVT and HVT.A.
Clarence H. Smith is the Chairman, President and CEO of Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc.  He began his career with Havertys in the Management Training Program in 1973 and has served as Regional Manager of the Mid-South and Atlanta Region, Senior VP and General Manager of Stores, Chief Operating Officer as well as several other capacities at both the operational and corporate levels.  He currently serves on the Havertys Board of Directors.
 
Mr. Smith is a 1972 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in psychology.  He attended the graduate program in psychology at Georgia State University and graduated from the Emory University Advanced Management Program.  Mr. Smith also graduated from the Key Executive Program for the National Home Furnishings Association at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
 
Mr. Smith has served as Chairman of the Better Business Bureau of Atlanta, the American Furniture Hall of Fame, the Advisory Board of High Point University and the Village of Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta.  He has served on the Executive Committee for the National Home Furnishings Board and on the Executive Committee of the Emory University Board of Visitors.  Currently, Mr. Smith serves as Chairman of the Marist School Board.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of Oxford Industries, Inc., the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, and the  Atlanta Advisory Board of SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Mr. Smith is married to the former Lamar Fleming of Atlanta and has two grown children, Lucy and Alex.  They are members of the Cathedral of Christ of the King.