Welspun Charts Course For '05

New Hires Expected as Company Continues to Build U.S. Team

New York — Indian towel manufacturer Welspun has a full agenda for the new year: its entry into the sheet business with the opening of a new sheet plant during the first quarter; the opening of a new towel factory; and, as of last week, the opening of a full-time U.S. office here.

Welspun has named former Bardwil Chief Financial Officer Charles Gaenslen to the newly created position of executive vice president and chief operating officer for its U.S. business.

He joins Blair Tate, design director-bath, who joined Welspun this past August from her previous position at WestPoint Stevens.

More hires are expected to be announced as the company builds up its U.S. team, Gaenslen said.

Welspun has maintained a showroom at 295 Fifth Ave. for several years, but had not installed a permanent staff.

As for the timing of the move, Gaenslen said, “It's a combination of things, but 2005 was one of the key ingredients. The company has also been making significant investments in India with the new towel factory and the new sheet factory. When you make that kind of investment, you need to back it up.”

Gaenslen comes to Welspun following 11 years at Bardwil Linens, where he managed finance and operations as chief financial officer. He is a 20-year veteran in the soft goods industries, previously working as a management consultant for KSA and prior to that for an apparel importing firm.

Tate came to Welspun after 12 years of experience designing and developing product for WestPoint Stevens, where she was most recently design manager for bath.

Prior to that, she worked as an independent textiles artist, making large-scale tapestries for exhibition and public architectural commissions. She also worked on a book about weaving and taught textiles as an adjunct professor at Rhode Island School of Design, as well as doing a brief stint at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She will work with Welspun's designers in India to create products for the U.S. market, Gaenslen said.

“This industry doesn't have many companies with experience in a number of markets that they can leverage with each other,” he added. “One of the things we're going to strive to do is become one of the few truly global companies.”

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