Online Exclusives

Benjamin Moore Names Third CEO in Two Years

By Kerry Pianoforte, Editor | October 9, 2013

Michael Searles to replace Bob Merritt.

After 15 months as CEO of Benjamin Moore, Bob Merritt has been replaced. This will be the third CEO for the 129-year old company in two years. Berkshire Hathaway bought Benjamin Moore in 2000 for approximately $1 billion and the unexpected move has fueled speculation that the company is struggling.  Merritt, whose prior experience was in the restaurant sector, was named CEO by Warren Buffet in June 2012. He replaced Denis Abrams who was fired amid reports of lavish spending and complaints from local independent dealers on his business practices.

No reason was given for Merritt’s departure.

Michael Searles brings forty years of retail leadership experience to Benjamin Moore. In his career, he has served as a leader at many retail concepts, including Kids "R" Us, Wilsons Leather,and most recently Stage Stores, Inc.

"Michael Searles is a strong, adept leader who understands the importance of the independent retailer," said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway in a press release. "Mike is committed to the strategy we have set forth and the commitment we have outlined to the dealer network. We are excited to have him joining the Benjamin Moore team"

"I am excited to be joining this talented organization at this time," said Searles. "The opportunities for continued success of this iconic brand are excellent and I look forward to working with the team to make them a reality."