Gardner White names new CEO and president

Rachel Stewart is the new chief executive officer of Gardner White, effective April 1, 2024.  As the fourth-generation leader of the 112-year-old, family-owned and operated company, Stewart has been at the helm as president since 2017 and succeeds parents Barbara and Steven Tronstein, who have served as co-CEOs of Gardner White, as they take on new roles as executive chair and chair respectively.

“Rachel’s strong leadership, innovative thinking and dedication to our employees, company and community give us confidence that she will continue to move Gardner White forward as she elevates to her new role as CEO of Gardner White,” says Barbara and Steven Tronstein in a joint statement.

Rachel Stewart

As one of the only female leaders in the industry, Stewart’s dynamic approach to business and community have established her as a respected and admired leader, innovator and trailblazer. With a strategic vision and an unrelenting drive for success, Stewart has been instrumental in Gardner White’s continued expanded footprint in southeast Michigan to include 13 retail locations throughout metro Detroit, Ann Arbor and Saginaw, and a team of over 1000 employees and growing.

With a deep dedication to Gardner White’s mission to “change lives through furniture,” Stewart has a strong passion for community and partnership, currently serving on the board of directors for Business Leaders for Michigan, The Parade Company, Math Corps, Detroit Economic Club and American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation. Under her leadership, Gardner White has been named Best Places to Work by lead industry publication Furniture Today for three consecutive years.

Prior to returning to Detroit to work in the family business, Stewart spent nearly ten years working in the clean energy sector. Her last position was at the U.S. Department of Energy on a program working for Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Dr. Steven Chu to drive down the installed price of solar energy to be competitive with other forms of electricity.

“I am determined to continue the thoughtful expansion of the Gardner White brand and am committed to strategic innovation to benefit the industry and our customers,” says Stewart. “It is a privilege to work alongside a team that shares the vision for the future and comes together to do remarkable work.”

As Stewart transitions to CEO, Gardner White proudly welcomes recognized industry veteran Brad Bailey to the team as president of Gardner White. With a proven track record for driving billion-dollar growth for iconic bedding brands in both retail and manufacturing across the country, Bailey is recognized for his ability to work cross-functionally to develop vision, strategy and growth plans to deliver historic and record-breaking results.

Brad Bailey

Prior to joining Gardner White, Bailey served as chief sales officer at Casper, where he led sales and operations for 65 retail stores throughout the country as well as the mass channel and wholesale sales divisions. He has also held leadership positions at Simmons, Serta Simmons and Tempur Sealy where he was credited with delivering growth in both profits and market share. Bailey will relocate to Michigan and assume his new role at Gardner White on April 1.

“Michigan is a draw for top talent, and we have worked diligently to bring the most talented team in the industry to Gardner White,” says Stewart. “Brad’s vast understanding of the retail and manufacturing industry and impressive results are reflective of this. His experience and expertise will be key in our continued growth and delivering our customers an unparalleled Gardner White experience.”

“I am excited and honored to work with the Tronstein family as well as the outstanding leadership and retail team that they have assembled to help us continue to grow the Gardner White brand for many years to come,” says Bailey.

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