NewsLocal NewsGrand Rapids


Steelcase president and CEO announces retirement, replacement

Steelcase logo
Posted at 4:15 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 16:15:59-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Steelcase President and CEO Jim Keane announced Monday he will be retiring next year after 25 years with the company.

He’ll be replaced by Sara Armbruster, executive vice president and a member of the Steelcase Board of Directors, on Oct. 4.

Keane will remain president and CEO until that date, when he will become vice chair until retiring from the company on Jan. 7, according to a news release.

Keane, 61, joined the company in 1997.

He’s held positions including chief operating officer, chief financial officer, president and chief executive officer.

In his time with the company, he’s led teams responsible for corporate strategy, IT, research, product development, design, engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution.

Keane helped transform Steelcase into a globally integrated enterprise, creating a strong organizational culture of rapid and decentralized decision-making.

“The Board of Directors and I would like to thank Jim for his incredible leadership as CEO these past seven years and dedication to Steelcase the past quarter of a century,” said Rob Pew, chair of the Steelcase Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, the company has experienced tremendous levels of innovation and growth. Jim led the business through the recent global crisis and leaves Steelcase in a strong strategic and financial position. We wish him the best for his retirement.”

Keane says it’s the right time for him to move on.

“I have never been more excited about the future of Steelcase,” Keane said. “Still, after 25 years, it’s the right time for me to move forward, and with the crisis ending, the recovery taking shape and a number of innovative new products ready to go, it will be the perfect time for the company to welcome a new CEO.”

Armbruster, who joined the company in 2007, has led corporate strategy and acquisition activities.

She’s also led multiple businesses at Steelcase, including Steelcase Education, Steelcase Health and PolyVision Corporation.

Her responsibilities have included leading information technology, global design research, new business initiatives and the company’s COVID-19 global crisis response team.

She will be the company’s tenth CEO in its 109-year history.

“I’m proud to work alongside our strong senior leadership and incredibly talented, committed teams around the world,” Armbruster said. “This is an important moment of growth for our company as the places where people work and learn are being reimagined. Thanks to Jim, Steelcase is tremendously well-positioned at a time when leadership in shaping the future of work is critical.”