Southerland Inc., a bedding producer based in Nashville, Tenn., is being acquired by employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan buyout. The deal, announced in early March, was expected to be finalized March 31. The new company, which is retaining the Southerland name, is led by co–presidents David Corbin and Steve Russo. Bryan Smith serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer.
An independent manufacturer, Southerland has operated as a family–owned enterprise for more than a century. It has 274,000–square–feet of combined production and distribution facilities in Nashville, Oklahoma City and Phoenix. Southerland distributes nationally but focuses on the East, Southwest and Midwest regions of the United States. Under the new management team, the company will continue to develop its own brands and produce private–label programs.
The change to an ESOP structure and accompanying recapitalization is being led by the company’s new executive leadership, as well as members of the Southerland family and current management team. Under the ESOP, employees will own 100% of the company. Southerland said it expects the new structure to result in significant tax savings and provide additional incentives and retirement benefits for employees.
Corbin and Russo have been working as consultants for Southerland since mid–2009.
Corbin has a background in marketing and new product development and has held brand management and executive positions at Procter & Gamble, Pulaski Furniture Corp. and Chromcraft Revington.
Russo is a longtime bedding industry veteran who has held executive positions at Latex International, Consolidated Bedding and Restonic.
Smith is a long–time member of the Southerland management team and has more than 20 years experience in managerial accounting.