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Herb Kohler, executive chair of Kohler Co, dies aged 83
By Megan Whitby 08 Sep 2022
Herb Kohler served for 61 years at his family-owned organisation Credit: Kohler Co
Spa operator and bathroom fixtures company Kohler Co has announced the death of its executive chair Herbert Vollrath Kohler Jr. The 83-year-old passed away on 3 September after dedicating 61 years of his career to the family-owned organisation.

Known as Herb to family and colleagues, Kohler was the grandson of company founder John Michael Kohler and was worth an estimated US$8.8bn (£7.6bn, €8.8bn).

At the time of his death, the company generated more than US$7bn (£6.1bn, €7bn) in revenues – according to Forbes. The wellness component of the business includes the operation of six branded spa destinations in the US and Scotland; its flagship – the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin; Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Burr Ridge, Illinois; The Kohler Waters Spa Lincoln Park, Illinois; and the Old Course Hotel and Spa in St Andrews, Scotland.

The Kohler family announced in a statement that their patriarch’s “zest for life, adventure and impact inspire all of us”.

“We travelled together, celebrated together and worked together. He was all in, all the time, leaving an indelible mark on how we live our lives today and carry on his legacy.”

During his tenure, Kohler elevated the company into a global organisation, with more than 40,000 associates and dozens of manufacturing facilities on six continents. He also took the company into new businesses with more than 48 acquisitions over his tenure.

“Herb’s bold ideas and hands-on leadership transformed the plumbing products manufacturer founded by his grandfather into a global and diverse family of businesses synonymous with unmatched quality, creativity and bold innovation,” announced the company, in a statement.

“Herb’s personal mission was to create delight. For him, there was no halfway.

"To warrant the Kohler nameplate, a product had to be more than durable, functional and attractive. It had to be joyful and memorable.”

Early life
As a young man, Kohler spent summers as a labourer on the Kohler Co farms and in the organisation’s manufacturing divisions.

After serving with the US Army Reserve, studying at the University of Zurich and launching a brief acting career at Knox College in Illinois, he completed his education at Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial administration in 1965.

He rejoined Kohler Co full-time as an R&D technician shortly after graduation. He became director of the company in 1967, and when his father died a year later, he became vice president of operations.

He was named executive vice president in 1971, was elected chair of the board and CEO in 1972, and progressed to the president of the company in 1974 – at the age of 35.

In 2015, he became Kohler Co’s executive chair, while his son David assumed the helm as president and CEO.

To learn more about Herb Kohler’s contributions and accolades, visit Kohler Co’s official website.


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Olympia Beauty
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NEWS
Herb Kohler, executive chair of Kohler Co, dies aged 83
POSTED 08 Sep 2022 . BY Megan Whitby
Herb Kohler served for 61 years at his family-owned organisation Credit: Kohler Co
Spa operator and bathroom fixtures company Kohler Co has announced the death of its executive chair Herbert Vollrath Kohler Jr. The 83-year-old passed away on 3 September after dedicating 61 years of his career to the family-owned organisation.

Known as Herb to family and colleagues, Kohler was the grandson of company founder John Michael Kohler and was worth an estimated US$8.8bn (£7.6bn, €8.8bn).

At the time of his death, the company generated more than US$7bn (£6.1bn, €7bn) in revenues – according to Forbes. The wellness component of the business includes the operation of six branded spa destinations in the US and Scotland; its flagship – the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin; Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Burr Ridge, Illinois; The Kohler Waters Spa Lincoln Park, Illinois; and the Old Course Hotel and Spa in St Andrews, Scotland.

The Kohler family announced in a statement that their patriarch’s “zest for life, adventure and impact inspire all of us”.

“We travelled together, celebrated together and worked together. He was all in, all the time, leaving an indelible mark on how we live our lives today and carry on his legacy.”

During his tenure, Kohler elevated the company into a global organisation, with more than 40,000 associates and dozens of manufacturing facilities on six continents. He also took the company into new businesses with more than 48 acquisitions over his tenure.

“Herb’s bold ideas and hands-on leadership transformed the plumbing products manufacturer founded by his grandfather into a global and diverse family of businesses synonymous with unmatched quality, creativity and bold innovation,” announced the company, in a statement.

“Herb’s personal mission was to create delight. For him, there was no halfway.

"To warrant the Kohler nameplate, a product had to be more than durable, functional and attractive. It had to be joyful and memorable.”

Early life
As a young man, Kohler spent summers as a labourer on the Kohler Co farms and in the organisation’s manufacturing divisions.

After serving with the US Army Reserve, studying at the University of Zurich and launching a brief acting career at Knox College in Illinois, he completed his education at Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial administration in 1965.

He rejoined Kohler Co full-time as an R&D technician shortly after graduation. He became director of the company in 1967, and when his father died a year later, he became vice president of operations.

He was named executive vice president in 1971, was elected chair of the board and CEO in 1972, and progressed to the president of the company in 1974 – at the age of 35.

In 2015, he became Kohler Co’s executive chair, while his son David assumed the helm as president and CEO.

To learn more about Herb Kohler’s contributions and accolades, visit Kohler Co’s official website.
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