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Kathwari Receives Distinguished Service Award
HIGH POINT, N.C. – M. Farooq Kathwari, chairman/CEO/president of Ethan Allen Inc., Danbury, Conn., received the American Furniture Manufacturers Association's Distinguished Service Award at the group's 2004 Annual Meeting in Sea Island, Ga., on Nov. 6.

“He is a highly respected executive who is passionate about applying his unique business formula to one of the oldest and most successful home furnishings operations in the nation,” said La-Z-Boy Chairman Patrick Norton in presenting the award.

“At the helm (of Ethan Allen) for almost 20 years, he is dedicated to providing decorating solutions for his company's consumers and turning their dreams of a beautiful home into attainable reality.”

Norton commended Kathwari for the leadership that has transformed nearly every facet of Ethan Allen, from the product assortment and manufacturing processes to pricing, advertising, service and delivery. As a result of Kathwari's efforts, the Ethan Allen brand is not just known, but preferred, in markets all across the United States, said Norton.

“Not willing to rest upon his laurels, he is driven to developing new services that help to create everyday interest among consumers,” Norton continued.

During his tenure in the Association's leadership ranks, Kathwari urged the AFMA Board of Directors to take a new look at the organization's purpose and practices during a turbulent time in the industry's history. “Reinvention” was his mantra throughout his year as president in 2002, and “Industry Reinventor” is the honorary title he was given as the 2004 Distinguished Service Award recipient.

The “reinvention” begun during Kathwari's tenure continued at the 2004 Annual Meeting last week, when the Association voted to change its name to the American Home Furnishings Alliance and to expand its membership base to include companies that are incorporated within the United States but manufacture products elsewhere. The new American Home Furnishings Alliance will continue presenting a Distinguished Service Award each year, according to CEO Andy Counts.

In addition to detailing his industry involvement, the Distinguished Service Award recognized Kathwari for his devotion to family, his faith and his humanitarian pursuits. As both a grass roots advocate and an advisor to world leaders, Kathwari is committed to building peace, justice and human rights for people all over the world.

AFMA has presented the Distinguished Service Award annually since 1966 in recognition of a member's contributions to the furniture industry. Recipients are chosen for their time and effort devoted to improving the industry; their executive presence and stature; their willingness to work to solve industry problems; and their integrity and leadership within their community, state and industry.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance –located in High Point, N.C. and Washington, D.C. – is the largest association of home furnishings companies in the world and represents more than 250 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, as well as 225 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.

Jackie Hirschhaut, 336/884-5000