FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Long-time retail executive Tom Lias is retiring as president and chief executive officer of Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design and will be succeeded by Duane Petroskey.
Petroskey, who is currently vice president and general manager, has been named president and will take the reins from Lias during an official transition that takes effect this summer.
Having started his industry career in 1970, Lias joined Gorman’s in 1983 and became president in 1986 and CEO in 2017. Before joining the company, he was co-owner and president of eight La-Z-Boy stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. He also was previously general manager and vice president for a number of Ethan Allen stores in Michigan, where he also worked as a marketing manager.
At Gorman’s, he is credited with developing and implementing the company’s “100 brands” strategy which included the flooring of major name brands such as Stickley, Lexington, Hooker and Bernhardt, to name several. He also developed other marketing initiatives, including growing an annual non-profit campaign partnership with the Arc of Oakland County. The Detroit News named him Michiganian of the Year for his role in that partnership.
“If my career with Gorman’s has all been a dream, I couldn’t have had a better one,” he said in a statement announcing his retirement. “From our design and sales teams to warehouse personnel and our outside vendors and manufacturer reps, it’s been the best. During the last 10 years and, especially, the last five, we have all worked tirelessly on this succession plan to put each of the senior management team in a position to seamlessly take on new responsibilities with my impending retirement. I am leaving Gorman’s in the hands of an extremely qualified team that will accomplish unbelievable things, of this I am certain. I’ll be watching from the wings, and I cannot wait to see what’s next for Gorman’s.”
Petroskey has been with Gorman’s for nearly 20 years and has more than 30 years in the furniture and interior design business. He grew up in the industry, working in his father’s furniture business in metro Detroit and northern Michigan from age 11.
Before joining Gorman’s, he worked for 11 years as a designer at Newton Furniture in Novi, Michigan, and also was an independent interior designer.
“Tom’s steady, forward-thinking vision helped shape the company into the respected and trusted name in interior design and home furnishings that it is today,” Petroskey said. “Because of it, Gorman’s is positioned for a bright future. It’s an awesome responsibility that I am ready to take on. It’s an honor to steer Gorman’s into its next 80 years.”
Other members of the retailer’s management team include John Moray, a 35-year company veteran who is vice president of operations and IT; Mike Otto, a 13-year company veteran with more than 25 years of experience in home furnishings, who is chief financial officer; Sue Drake, a 30-year company veteran, who is director of merchandising; and Melissa Smith, a nearly 20-year company veteran who is director of marketing.