Blair has a new CEO.
On Friday, Orchard Brands Chairman/CEO Neale Attenborough announced that Orchard Brands Chief Financial Officer Dave Walde has been named as the new president and CEO of Blair Corporation.
Walde replaces Shelley Nandkeolyar, who resigned in February.
Times Observer photo by Dean Wells
Blair‘s new CEO
Dave Walde, left, was named Blair Corporation’s new president and CEO on Friday. Orchard Brands CEO and President Neale Attenborough, right, was in town to make the announcement. Walde was Orchard Brands’ Chief Financial Officer prior to being named the new head of Blair.
The company has been operating under an interim CEO since Nandkeolyar's resignation.
"We're very excited to announce that Dave Walde has been appointed the next CEO of Blair," said Attenborough, who was in Warren on Friday. "I was really interested in finding someone who wanted to be part of the Warren community and be here a long time."
Walde, 49, has been with Orchard Brands for the last 10 years. Prior to joining Orchard Brands, he served as interim CEO and CFO for Saga International Holidays, a direct marketer of travel tours to the senior market.
Walde was also corporate controller for the J. Hill Group from 1990 to 1996 and played an instrumental role in the company's initial public offering.
Walde, who was raised in Idaho and spent time in Utah, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of New Mexico and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Babson College. He has lived in the northeastern United States for the last 25 years, including seven in New Hampshire.
Attenborough, who has worked closely with Walde over the last nine years, said he believes Walde has the skills and talent that will compliment Blair's current management.
"Because I've worked with him so closely, I feel I know him better than any other leader in the Orchard Brands management team," Attenborough said. "His excellent business skills and kindness really matches well with the camaraderie here. We want to succeed in the marketplace, but we want to succeed in a kind way."
According to Blair Director of Corporate Communications Jude Dippold, Walde has been a frequent visitor to Blair in his capacity of Orchard Brands' CFO. "He is very familiar with our operation and most of the key people," he said.
"We always want to look at internal candidates before we go to the outside," Attenborough said of the selection process. "It became very clear to me due to Dave's strengths that he was the right person for the job.
"Blair has become an extremely important hub for Orchard Brands. We've brought 10 brands of activity to (the distribution center in) Irvine and to the call centers in Franklin and Warren. A lot of the central brain of the company the I.T. Department is located in Warren, as well. It's really important for us to have the best quality of leadership in this place for us."
"I'm really looking forward to moving here and enjoying the lifestyle," Walde said. He added that his partner, Robin, is an avid outdoors person. "She loves this kind of environment. We're going to enjoy being here a lot.
Walde added: "This is a fabulous management team. I'll be honored to be a part of it. Blair is such a wonderful business and such a great platform to grow and launch other things Orchard Brands wants to develop."