Newell's Design Chief Leaves in 'Mutual Decision,' Company Says

Chuck Jones Presided Over Opening of High-Profile Design Center

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Newell Rubbermaid's top designer has left the company, less than a year after presiding over the opening of a high-profile design center for the company.

"There was a mutual agreement for Chuck Jones to leave Newell Rubbermaid to pursue other opportunities to build design and R&D capabilities outside of Newell Rubbermaid," a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Mr. Jones was chief design and research & development officer for Newell. His duties will be split between Nate Young, Newell's VP-global innovation since September 2013, who has been promoted to senior VP-design and innovation; and Mike Orroth, who was VP of technology, who's been promoted to senior VP of R&D.

The new dedicated leadership roles for design and R&D "support a shift in the company's approach to bringing innovation to market faster," a change in structure that led to the mutual decision for Mr. Jones to leave the company, she said.

Newell Rubbermaid's "commitment to design and R&D remains strong," the spokeswoman said, and the company plans to accelerate execution of its plan to be "famous for design and product performance."

Mr. Jones didn't respond to a request for comment via LinkedIn.

One of the first pieces of the top team assembled by CEO Mike Polk, and hired before top marketing and sales executives, Mr. Jones helped bring a team of 120 designers from about 20 Newell Rubbermaid sites around the world to the center at a technology and research park at Western Michigan University in Kalamzaoo, Mich. The center was part of a plan to take Newell on a journey that he likened to the distance from Veg-O-Matic marketer Ronco up to the lofty heights of Apple.