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Executive succession at Downlite

After 10 years as CEO of family-owned Downlite, James Lape is retiring and passing his torch to Josh Werthaiser, former Downlite CFO.

8th September 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Mason, OH

Sports/​Outdoor, Clothing/​Footwear

Josh Werthaiser. © DownliteAfter 10 years as CEO of family-owned Downlite, James Lape is retiring and passing his torch to Josh Werthaiser, former Downlite CFO. While this executive shift takes effect immediately, Lape will remain on the board and continue to be a company advocate.

Lape joined Downlite in 2007 after 25 years with Levi Strauss where he held several senior executive positions. Under his leadership at Downlite, the company has achieved consecutive double-digit growth placing it as America’s leading manufacturer of down and feather, and synthetic bedding products for home and hospitality markets, and a leading supplier of responsibly-sourced fills for the outdoor market.

“Even after 25 years at Levi Strauss both domestically and internationally, my leadership role at Downlite has been the most rewarding,” said Lape. “Downlite is an incredible family business with great employees, and strength in distribution and product. I am grateful for the opportunity.”

“I’ve worked closely with Josh in his CFO role for eight years and his intellect and energy are contagious. He is fully prepared to lead this company as CEO and I have the utmost confidence that he will bring fresh leadership, continued growth and prosperity for the company.”

Josh Werthaiser

Werthaiser joined Downlite in 2001. During his tenure, he has worked in nearly every department within the company ranging from sales and marketing, pricing, feather and down sourcing and trend analysis/inventory management. In 2008, Werthaiser transitioned into his role as CFO, overseeing the financial affairs and initiating the sustainability initiatives of the company.

“I am honoured to be filling Jim’s shoes as Downlite CEO,” said Werthaiser. “He has been a mentor and respected leader to not only me, but also to many in the Downlite family. Jim’s paved an excellent path, and I’m excited about the future of Downlite and the strategic plans we have moving forward.”

Strategic plans

Taking a hard look at the retail environment, Downlite has put its first strategic plan in motion under the new leadership. The company says it has developed a new organisational structure that better aligns with its customer needs – offering improved communication and customer service for its retail partners.

“Our organisational change underscores and reflects the changes taking place at retail,” said Werthaiser. “Many of the business realities of yesterday are no longer applicable today, and while we like where we’ve been, we certainly like where we are going.”

Downlite is America’s premiere manufacturer of down and feather, and synthetic bedding products. Its products – comforters, pillows, mattress pads, and feather and fibre beds – are sold under private label and national brand names in leading department stores, specialty stores, and catalogues, as well as to the hospitality industry. Downlite also supplies high-quality bulk fills to furniture, outerwear and sleeping bag manufacturers.

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