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Episode 95: Building A Generational Brand with David Kohler of Kohler Co.

Ted speaks with David Kohler, Chair and CEO of Kohler Co. By innovating new products, forging creative partnerships, and focusing on culture, David Kohler has helped lead this generation of Kohler Co. into the future.

Ted speaks with David Kohler, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Kohler Co. They discuss the company’s success, the American dream, and the importance of failure. David emphasizes the need for a strong culture, hard work, and a balance between discipline and creativity, while also sharing his insights on inspiring the younger generation and testing and innovating new products. From home fixtures to golf destinations, David and Ted uncover the Kohler journey and where they’re headed next.

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • [01:05] Introduction and the Green Bay Packers
  • [05:55] The American Dream and the Kohler Legacy
  • [08:15] Culture and Leadership
  • [11:45] Inspiring the Younger Generation
  • [14:33] Balancing Risk and Discipline
  • [18:40] Testing and Innovating New Products
  • [20:15] Collaborating with Designers and creatives
  • [23:20] The American Dream and Global Mentality
  • [28:00] Removing Politics from Immigration
  • [29:30] The Importance of Political Discourse
  • [30:25] Training the younger generation
  • [33:20] Building a Golf Destination
  • [42:30] The Importance of Gratitude, Humility, and Will
  • [43:25] Courage and Inspiration from Athletes
  • [48:30] Character Determines Destiny

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KEY QUOTES FROM EPISODE 

  • I think our team members really buy in to the company, to the culture, to the values, to the traditions and bring their passion and energy and that’s really what’s built the company over the years. 
  • Because some of our strongest leaders in the company are leaders that started in a plant 25 years ago or on the front lines in sales 30 years ago and they’ve really grown up like I have in the industry.
  • And I talk to, you know, US CEOs all the time. And I can tell you that creative spirit, the focus on innovation, the dynamism is still alive.

About

David Kohler | Kohler Co.

David Kohler was elected Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Kohler Co. in September 2022. He chairs the Board of Directors and Executive Committee in addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer, which includes full-scope responsibility for the three business groups of Kohler Co. (Kitchen & Bath, Energy, Hospitality) and all enterprise functions.

Previously, David served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2015 to 2022. He is the fourth generation of the Kohler family to lead the company since its inception in 1873, and only the ninth person to lead the company over the last 149 years.

David started at Kohler Co. working in every manufacturing division on the front lines. He rejoined Kohler as Director – Fixtures Marketing in 1993 after working at Dayton Hudson Corporation. Since then, he has served in progressive roles including Vice President Sales, Sector President – K&B Americas, Group President – K&B Group, Executive Vice President, President and COO, and President and CEO.

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