Birkins, Kennedy promoted at WestPoint Home

New York -- WestPoint Home has named Art Birkins, president of the major mill's basic bedding business, to head up a new customer service initiative to forge closer ties to retail accounts. Alan Kennedy, who had been vp of sales and Birkins’ No. 2, has been promoted to chief of the basic bedding area, which ties together the company's blanket, throw, down and pillow operations.

In his new post, Birkins will develop closer ties to retailers, an increasingly important agenda in an era of stepped-up global competition -- and a priority of new WestPoint Home ceo Joseph Penacchio.

A veteran of the home fashions business as both retailer and supplier, Birkins joined WestPoint in May 2001, heading up the basic bedding business which tied together the company's Vellux, Chatham and Liebhardt operations. Before joining WestPoint, Birkins had been vp at Waverly Home Fashions; earlier, he had worked at Decorative Home Accents, Home Express and JC Penney.

Kennedy takes the reins as basic bedding chief following a strong year in the business; he had joined WestPoint when the company acquired century-old blanket producer Chatham Mfg. in 2001, where he had worked for more than two decades.

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