Harry Cornell Jr., who is credited with leading exponential growth as CEO of Leggett & Platt Inc. (NYSE: LEG) over four decades, died May 8. He was 93.
Cornell "passed away peacefully in his sleep ... at his home in Joplin," according to his obituary posted to the Ulmer Funeral Home website.
Cornell became president and CEO of Leggett & Platt in 1960, at which time the private company founded in 1883 had four U.S. factories generating $7 million in annual sales, according to a company blog post honoring his life. At the end of his tenure as CEO in 1999, the Carthage-based manufacturer had annual sales of $3.5 billion, with nearly 200 factories in 18 countries.
In 2021, Leggett & Platt had $5.1 billion in sales, 20,000 employees and more than 130 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries, according to past reporting.
“L&P was always something more personal to Harry, as evidenced by the way he cared about each of his employees,” said Karl Glassman, executive chair of the board, in the blog post. “He invested himself in L&P’s people – inspiring us to work that much harder to meet our goals.”
Cornell retired from the Leggett & Platt board as chair emeritus in 2008, according to the blog post.
Research firm Mordor Intelligence reports the worldwide corrugated board packaging market was valued at nearly $173 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to reach $212 billion in 2027.