Bowles resigning from Springs Global

Marks end of 100-year family legacy

Fort Mill, S.C. -- As Springs Global prepares to go public with the sale of stock in the Brazilian financial markets, Crandall Close Bowles, co-chairman and ceo of the textiles giant founded by her family more than a century ago, said she is retiring from both those posts, ceding complete control to her successor, Josue Christiano Gomes de Silva, and leaving Springs Global's parent, Brazilian textiles Coteminas, with virtually total control of the company.

Bowles said she and her family will sell a substantial portion of their holdings of Springs Global, effectively cashing out and recouping at least a small part of their investment from when they bought out Springs (Industries, Inc.) and took it private in 2001. While relinquishing her demanding executive-level posts, Bowles said she will remain a member of the board of directors.

"This is the right time for me to retire," said Bowles. "We are beginning a new phase of our history as a global company. My goal for the past three years has been to stabilize the company amid a difficult industry environment and position it for profitable future growth. With the Coteminas merger, that goal has largely been achieved."

Bowles added, "We have almost completed the transfer of much of our U.S. bedding and towel manufacturing capacity to Brazil, where we will have a low-cost, globally competitive base of production. We are also well-positioned to source or produce product in China and Mexico."

Bowles, who has worked assiduously, and at considerable personal cost, to preserve the family's heritage and to buffer, as best she could, Springs' Carolina communities and workers from the transition, acknowledged the powerful feelings that have tugged at her and other Close family members as they watched U.S. textiles jobs eliminated. From a high of more than 15,000 workers in the Carolinas fewer than two decades ago, Springs now employs fewer than 800 in the region, where it was once a dominant employer.

"Certainly I have had mixed feelings as we have made this transition, as my family has been committed to this company, its employees and the communities in which we've operated for 120 years. However, as it became increasingly difficult to manufacture competitively in the U.S., the decision to close plants and eliminate jobs, though painful, was inevitable. The company's history, culture and the commitment of our employees have been a major motivation to me as a ceo during this period. I am proud that we maintained good jobs with competitive benefits for this area for as long as possible, and I am grateful to all our current and former employees for their commitment and positive attitudes.

"I will leave knowing that our company has survived radical change and emerged with solid market value. I have great confidence in my co-ceo and successor, Josue Gomes, and the rest of the management team."

Bowles, the last of her family to helm the Springs colossus, first joined the company as a financial analyst from 1973 to 1978, when she was named a director. She became evp of Springs in 1992, was named president and coo in 1997, and finally chairman, ceo and president in 1998.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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