Herman Miller is a successful American furniture company that was founded in 1905. They sell a variety of home and office pieces and are arguably most well known for their Aeron office chair, which is an ergonomic masterpiece.
With Herman Miller being such an old company, it’s passed through lots of hands and been called many things over the 116 years it’s been running. The furniture company is owned by the De Pree family and has not changed ownership hands since 1923.
Here’s everything else you need to know about who owns Herman Miller and what kind of company it is. Herman Miller has been growing exponentially and its new CEO has been credited for the recent boom in sales and new company mergers.
While you can certainly enjoy your ergonomic office chair experience without knowing all the ins and outs of the company, but we think knowing a little more about a company helps you appreciate the quality and history of the products more.
Table of Contents
Herman Miller Ownership
Originally called Star Furniture Co., Herman Miller and his son-in-law Dirk Jan De Pree bought 51 percent of Star Furniture Co. in 1923, renaming it Herman Miller Furniture Co.
Dirk Jan De Pree had worked with the company since it opened in 1905. He first began his journey with Star Furniture Co. as an employee then later became its president before purchasing the company.
While Herman Miller is the name everyone recognizes, Dirk Jan De Pree is considered the founder and pioneer of the modern and iconic brand. He was the CEO for several decades and is credited for building the company we know and love today.
Since then, the company has brought on important designers that have given Herman Miller its iconic style. Dirk Jan De Pree stepped down as CEO in 1961 and was succeeded by his two sons, one after another, until 1990. After that, Herman Miller’s CEOs were no longer related to the De Pree family.
The company has never been bought out or changed ownership since the initial purchase by De Pree and Miller. However, they have Colebrook Bosson Saunders and Knoll, making the firm even larger and more successful.
They plan to merge with Knoll and go under the new name MillerKnoll. Herman Miller bought Knoll for 1.8 billion dollars in April 2021.
Herman Miller rakes in billions of dollars annually and employs around 8,500 employees globally.
Who is the CEO of Herman Miller?
Andrea (Andi) Owen is the current CEO of Herman Miller. She acquired the position in August 2018 and has been praised for further modernizing the company.
Previously, Owen worked at GAP Inc. for 25 years and spent three years as the Global President of Banana Republic. She says her experience working with other markets gave her the fresh perspective she needed to reshape Herman Miller into the current-day success it is.
Owen’s numbers speak for themselves. From the years 2018 to 2019, direct retail accounts went up 15 percent. Most impressively, their furniture retail sales rose an outstanding 42 percent. That’s a 30 percent increase from the industry’s average growth that year.
She sees a gap in the furniture market and wants to take advantage of it, bringing Herman Miller higher than it’s ever been. With sales numbers rising exponentially, it’s clear Owen knows exactly what she’s doing and hopes to turn Herman Miller into a furniture empire.
Interviews with Owen praise her goal-oriented leadership and the big plans she has for the company.
The Herman Miller empire is already significantly bigger than it was last year, despite the pandemic bringing down several businesses. Owen is responsible for Herman Miller’s acquisition of Knoll, which specializes in office furniture and was their biggest competitor.
Is Herman Miller a public company?
Yes, Herman Miller is a public company! That means that if you’re eager to buy stocks in the famed and growing furniture company, you can do so!
The company went public in 1970 and trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as MLHR. Stocks for MLHR do relatively well and are steadily growing.
Currently, The Vanguard Group Inc., owns the largest percentage of Herman Miller shares.
Is Herman Miller made in China?
The majority of Herman Miller chairs are made in China. Most chairs are made in Dongguan, an industrial city and previously known as the “world factory”. Dongguan is very popular for business and is home to countless factories producing commodities for brands and companies around the world.
Herman Miller is proud of its state-of-the-art facility in Dongguan. They have every tool they need to produce their chairs right there, from the fabric and metal cutters to the welding machines.
The facility produces up to 1,000 chairs daily, but they assure their customers that their high numbers have not let them stop caring about sustainable production methods. All factory waste is sent to recycling plants and they routinely implement or reinforce company-wide initiatives to upload their eco-friendly standards.
They also have a modern office space in Dongguan, where they take pride in providing their employees with modern and open-minded opportunities to succeed.
However, some chairs are still made in the United Kingdom, Canada, or Mexico. If you’re curious about where your chair was produced, have a look for the label on the piece.
What Can You Expect from Herman Miller?
With Andi Owen showing no signs of slowing down and Herman Miller starting its merger with Knoll soon, prospective investors and customers can expect Herman Miller to get even bigger than it already is.
The name change to MillerKnoll may be slightly off putting at first, given the rich history associated with the company, but Owen appears to be more focused on growth. Hopefully, we can see new office chair designs from the brand, especially since Knoll’s office furniture is widely celebrated, too.
Will the same classic designs still be available? Most definitely! Herman Miller ergonomic chairs are some of the best in the business, so don’t be afraid to invest in one.