SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Herald-Journal/WSPA) – J. Harold Chandler has been elected chairman, president, and CEO of Milliken after Joseph M. Salley resigned, the Herald Journal reports.
Chandler has served on Milliken’s board of directors for 14 years. He served as chairman the last 5 years.
He also served on the Wofford College board of trustees for 24 years, and was its chairman the last 5 years as well. He retired from his position in May.
Chandler graduated from Wofford College in 1971, went on to receive his masters of business administration degree from the University of South Carolina, and later completed post-graduate studies at Harvard Business School.
He has served on the boards of directors of 8 public and family-owned companies over the past 30 years, the Herald Journal says.
“We sincerely thank Joe Salley for his service to Milliken, which covers a span of 20 years, the past eight as president and CEO” Chandler said in a statement. “I am honored to take on the additional roles of president and CEO.”
The reason for Salley’s departure is unknown at this time. However, Milliken spokesperson Courtney Edwards called it “an internal matter.”
“Our focus is on the transition and making sure we can continue business as usual,” Edwards said.
Richard Dillard, Milliken’s former corporate director of public affairs, said he worked with both Salley and Chandler during his years at Milliken. Dillard retired in 2015.
“I was very pleased to hear Mr. Chandler will be leading the company going forward,” Dillard said. “I developed a huge amount of respect for him. He seems to be a man of great integrity, sharp intellect and a well-honed understanding of business. Mr. Chandler is the type of person you need to step in at this time of transition.”
“When someone suddenly leaves the company and you don’t have a knowledge of the circumstances of the departure, I think it’s best not to discuss the individual or the circumstances,” Dillard said.
Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt, chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee, said he had briefly known Salley and Chandler, and he said he believes that Chandler will be good for Milliken and Spartanburg County.
“I cannot say enough positive things about Harold Chandler,” Britt said. “As chairman, he helped to transform Wofford into one of the top-flight colleges in the United States, if not the world.”
He added, “Having been chairman at Milliken, he will help do the same for Milliken.”
Chandler said in a statement his first step “will be to ensure an effective transition and to maintain the positive momentum from which the company is currently benefiting.”
“Together, we will continue to innovate, contribute to Spartanburg and our other communities, and be a leader in our industry,” he stated.
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