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Climb every mountain

Farooq Kathwari ascends to the top

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

In his office are photos of Farooq Kathwari and his family hiking the mountains of Kashmir, India. Kathwari grew up there, and his love of mountain climbing serves as a metaphor for his corporate ascent. He’s chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen Inc., the $1.2 billion home furnishing chain with 12,000 employees.

Kathwari moved to the United States in 1965 after earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Kashmir University. He earned an M.B.A. from New York University in 1968 and then joined an investment bank. Five years later, he started a firm that imported Kashmir wool and handcrafts. Ethan Allen eventually bought Kathwari’s business and hired him as a VP in 1980.

WS: Did you always set your sights on becoming CEO of a major company?

Kathwari: Not really. But I knew from an early age that I enjoyed providing leadership, that it came naturally to me. Ever since I was in school in Kashmir, when I was involved in acti...(register to read more)

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