Published in Manufacturing
Sara Armbruster Sara Armbruster COURTESY PHOTO

Armbruster takes over as Steelcase president and CEO

BY Monday, October 04, 2021 12:30pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Sara Armbruster has taken over as president and CEO of global office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc., the company announced today.

The Grand Rapids-based Steelcase announced in April that former President and CEO Jim Keane would be stepping down from the top leadership position, making Armbruster the 10th CEO in the company’s 109-year history. Keane will stay on as vice president of Steelcase’s board of directors before fully retiring in 2022.

Armbruster has been with Steelcase since 2007 and served as vice president of strategy, research and digital transformation since February 2018. 

In addition to leading corporate strategy and acquisition activities, Armbruster has led other businesses within Steelcase, including Steelcase Education, Steelcase Health, and PolyVision Corp., which specializes in manufacturing products with CeramicSteel surfaces. 

Armbruster has maintained a broad range of responsibilities at Steelcase, including leading the company’s global COVID-19 crisis response team.

“I am honored to guide Steelcase into this next chapter,” Armbruster said in a statement. “Organizations are exploring the new ways work is happening, and we’re at the center of those discussions. We believe the office continues to be critical to culture and innovation — and we believe better is possible. We’re delighted to help our customers improve their experience with work no matter where, or how, that happens.”

Armbruster takes over as a variety of market challenges confront the company. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Steelcase showed its performance was tempered by supply chain issues — mainly higher prices on shipping — and rising costs of goods, which led the company’s leaders to issue a third price increase this year alone.

In a conference call with analysts to discuss the results, Keane — who held the president and CEO position for the past seven years — voiced his support for the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, which he said would provide a “clearer path for our customers and their employees and is a real positive for our business.”

“There is an incredible energy within our organization,” Armbruster added. “We’re united in purpose, focused on our strategic vision and well positioned to serve our customers around the world. I can’t think of a more compelling time to step into the role of CEO.”

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