Middleby announces Steve Follett retirement, Korey Kohl promotion

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Steve Follett, president of Follett LLC, will have "a seamless transition in the first quarter of 2019" with Korey Kohl, currently Middleby group president overseeing the Middleby Beverage Group

Following a career spanning more than three decades, The Middleby Corporation announces the retirement of Steve Follett, president of Follett LLC. He will be succeeded by industry veteran Korey Kohl, currently Middleby group president overseeing the Middleby Beverage Group. Follett and Kohl will work together on a seamless transition in the first quarter of 2019.

“During his time at Follett, Steve has built a company with a long-standing reputation of trust, quality products and an unwavering commitment to customers,” says Middleby CEO Selim A. Bassoul. “Steve has always been passionate about the foodservice industry and grew to be a respected mentor to many through giving freely of his time and resources. He was not only an asset to Follett and Middleby, but to the industry in which he served. We wish Steve and his wife Jeanne the best on their new adventure into retirement. I am confident what Steve built at Follett will continue to move forward under the capable and proven leadership of Korey Kohl.”

With nearly 32 years at Follett, Steve Follett served 22 of them as president and CEO of Follett Corporation and, since 2016, president of Follett LLC following new ownership by The Middleby Corporation. Under his leadership, Follett has grown significantly, expanding from a single, domestic operation in Easton, Penn. to three facilities consisting of two in Lehigh Valley, Penn. and one in Gdansk, Poland. Today, these facilities employ more than 600 people worldwide. Steve led ongoing development of innovative and successful product lines that reshaped an industry, promoting health, safety, and well-being in healthcare and foodservice

Customer-focused culture

“I am extremely proud of the customer-focused culture that has been built over the years, and the significant growth of the company which can be directly attributed to our outstanding people,” says Follett. “The company is well-positioned for future success and a smooth transition. Korey has deep experience and customer relationships within the commercial beverage arena. Also, his business philosophies are well-aligned with the Follett service-oriented culture that was built on respecting customer relationships and employees. I wish him the absolute best and will fully support him as he leads Follett into the future.”

Steve Follett has contributed his time and expertise to numerous industry associations. He served on the NAFEM (National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) board of directors from 2002-2010 and was named president of the organization where he served from 2010 to 2012. He was honored with the NAFEM President’s Award in 2017, recognizing a NAFEM volunteer who has donated their time and expertise for the betterment of the association. Follett also has been actively involved in the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management, serving on the board of SHFM from 1995 to 1998 and from 2013 to 2016. SHFM recognized Follett with its president’s award in 2013. Follett also served on the FCSI North American Division Board from 2001 to 2003.

Active locally, Follett has served on a number of boards in the Lehigh Valley and will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Business Hall of Fame in December 2018 in recognition of his career accomplishments as well as years of service to the community.

Korey Kohl joined Nieco Corporation in 2011 and became president in 2013, shortly after the company was acquired by Middleby. During this time he lead Nieco to significant financial improvement and grew sales while at the same time introducing new, advanced broiling technologies to the marketplace. In 2017 he was promoted to group president and today leads the companies in the Middleby Beverage Group including Wunder-Bar, Concordia Beverage Systems, Joe Tap and Bloomfield. He will continue to lead of all of these brands while undertaking his new leadership responsibilities at Follett.

Prior to joining Nieco, Kohl held various roles at Silver King, Tyler Refrigeration, and Copeland. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He will relocate to the Easton area to lead Follett in a day-to-day capacity.

Pictured (left to right): Steve Follett and Korey Kohl