Tom McLean, executive vice president and head of sales training at Kingsdown, has retired after 42 years with the Mebane, N.C.–based mattress maker.
Craig Wilson, Kingsdown vice president of training, who has worked closely with McLean since joining Kingsdown a year ago, has assumed McLean’s former responsibilities. Wilson worked for Simmons Bedding Co. for 15 years, most recently as vice president of sales and training development. He reports to Kevin Damewood, Kingsdown executive vice president of sales.
McLean joined Kingsdown in 1969 as a trainee. He rose through the ranks at the manufacturer, establishing an industrywide reputation as a retail sales training expert. He will continue to serve as a member of the company’s board of directors.
Eric Hinshaw, Kingsdown chairman and chief executive officer, credits McLean with helping the company grow from a regional to an international brand.
“Tom has made important contributions to our company at every step of his career. He was a dynamic sales representative and manager and then took that field knowledge to lead our corporate marketing to new levels of professionalism. He also played a critical role in our international expansion, for which we will always be grateful,” Hinshaw said. “But I think Tom will best be remembered in our company for his passion in delivering sales training and education to our retailers this past decade and helping them improve sales and deliver a more meaningful customer experience.”
“I am most proud of changing the way our company and industry sell sleep,” McLean said. “When Kingsdown created the Sleep to Live Institute, it was a game changer for our industry and our retailers. When you help a retailer understand the importance of selling the sleep experience—not just the mattress—you are helping them improve their business, create a closer bond between them and their customers and help their customers get a better and more restorative night’s sleep. I really loved the fact I could help so many people all these years.”
McLean was active in the International Sleep Products Association, serving on its Better Sleep Council for 17 years and as BSC chairman for 12. He also played roles on its Sleep Products Safety Council. In 2008, McLean was honored with ISPA’s Russell L. Abolt Exceptional Service Award.