Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Marcella Kanfer Rolnick assumes the new role of Executive Chair; Joe Kanfer continues in the family enterprise as Chair and Venturer
GOJO Industries announced today that Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, a third generation member of the Lippman-Kanfer family, will assume the role of Executive Chair for the 72-year-old family enterprise. As Executive Chair, Kanfer Rolnick assumes the mantle of responsibility for the viability and vitality of GOJO into the future. Her focus will be to ensure that the conditions are in place for continued sustainable competitive advantage. As Vice Chair since 2007, Marcella has co-led the enterprise with her father, Joe Kanfer, and the GOJO leadership team. This progression continues a pattern of deep collaboration across multiple generations of family leadership, a legacy begun by wife-and-husband team, Goldie and Jerry Lippman, in 1946.
Joe Kanfer, previously Chair and CEO, is transitioning to the role of Chair and Venturer. He will mentor, coach and help shape GOJO strategy in partnership with Kanfer Rolnick and other GOJO leaders who are critical to the family enterprise’s ongoing success.
“Our world and the markets GOJO serves are continually changing but what will not change is our commitment to GOJO Values and our highly collaborative, adaptive, customer-focused, team-based ways of working,” said Kanfer Rolnick. “I will carry on the legacy of leadership collaboration that was set forth by Goldie and Jerry and continued by my father and generations of GOJO leaders. I am humbled and proud to serve and lead with our talented team in pursuit of our GOJO Purpose – Saving Lives and Making Life Better Through Well-Being Solutions.”
“Today marks a significant moment in GOJO history and for the Kanfer family,” Joe Kanfer said. “I could not be more proud and excited to enter the next stage of our family’s leadership. Just as I was a confidant and partner to my uncle Jerry Lippman, Marcella has been my confidant and partner for nearly her whole life. When she was a child, we talked business every evening around our family dinner table, and our partnership continued through daily phone calls when she was a student at Princeton University and later while earning an MBA at Stanford University. Over the last ten years – in her expanded role as GOJO Vice Chair – Marcella has been my colleague and critical shaper of our strategic direction.”
Marcella helped launch PURELL® Hand Sanitizer in the consumer market and then established the company’s initial e-business capability and digital strategy in the late 1990s. She also worked outside the family enterprise at a strategy consulting firm, multi-media publisher and boutique investment company before returning to GOJO to take on an expanded role. In addition to her role at GOJO, Marcella also oversees Walnut Ridge, a holding company that manages the Kanfer Family's investments and philanthropic interests.
The GOJO journey began in 1946 when Goldie and Jerry Lippman set out to find a safer solution to get workers’ hands clean by founding a small family business, initially naming it GoJer Laboratories. Together, Goldie and Jerry, with Kent State University Chemistry Professor Clarence Cook, invented a revolutionary heavy-duty hand cleaner. The operations were small in 1946; Jerry mixed the hand cleaner in the basement at night and sold it from the trunk of his car by day while Goldie managed the office. Goldie and Jerry’s nephew, Joe Kanfer, was infused with Jerry’s curiosity and Goldie’s business acumen and was often found as a youth working alongside his aunt and uncle. In the mid-1970s, Joe became President, and later Chairman and CEO working alongside critical team members and advisors.
Over the past decade, Joe, Marcella, and the GOJO team catapulted GOJO forward, establishing the company’s market and industry sustainability leadership and making critical strategic moves like expanding the PURELL® brand into multiple categories to solve important human problems around germ management and disease prevention.