- Serta Simmons Bedding promoted Shelley Huff to the CEO spot, effective Dec. 1, according to a press release.
- Huff is currently Serta chief operating officer as well as chief executive of Tuft & Needle, which merged with Serta in 2018.
- She succeeds David Swift, who is set to retire in December after serving as chairman of Serta's parent company since 2013 and as CEO since 2019.
Huff first joined Serta in mid-2020, having previously served as CEO of Walmart's online home goods store Hayneedle. She's also held various management and executive roles in Walmart's e-commerce and U.S. units prior to that.
At Serta, she started as executive vice president over DTC companywide and CEO of Tuft & Needle.
Serta traces its roots back to the 1870s, when it, according to the company, became the first business to mass-produce woven wire mattresses. Obviously, the industry has changed several times over since that time. In recent years, DTC players like Casper and Purple have been vying for share of the mattress and general sleep space and proving that mattresses can be sold to customers purely online.
Along with a digital-first mindset, upstarts also have cash from investors to burn, which has its own disruptive effect on the market. Casper, for example, has never turned a profit from its operations. Last year it racked up an $82.7 million operating loss. Over the course of its life, the company has enjoyed venture capitalists willing to throw cash at a loss-maker and, today, public investors willing to put up with losses while Casper seeks further growth.
Aside from the price competition that environment can create, legacy players have had to adapt to a consumer that has become more digital-savvy and open to buying online now that DTC players have taught them how. Upstarts also chucked the complicated pricing and mattress sizing in favor of basic products and simple pricing.
Tuft & Needle was one such digital upstart. Bringing it into the fold gave Serta an opening to modernize and keep up. As company leader, Swift said in the release that he tried to lay a foundation to transform the company "from a heritage mattress business into a digital-first, consumer-centric sleep company."
Swift added that Huff's "outstanding track record and deep expertise in omnichannel retail, as well as her consumer-centric and team-first approach, is unmatched," making her "uniquely qualified" to lead the company.
Huff likewise praised the groundwork laid by Swift in the company's DTC pivot. "With this foundation, in addition to our unwavering commitment to quality craftsmanship and innovation, portfolio of power brands, top retail and supplier partners, and most importantly, incredible talent across the organization, we are well-positioned to become the trusted authority on sleep," Huff said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the role of Melanie Huet, who is currently serving as the company's chief commercial officer and chief marketing officer.