Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc. was founded in 1885 by James Joseph Haverty in Atlanta, Ga. Today the company is one of the nation’s largest full-service home furnishings retailers, providing its customers a wide selection of quality merchandise in primarily the middle to upper-middle price ranges. Now in its 132nd year, this true retailing institution has over 100 showrooms in 16 states in the Southern and Midwestern regions. A publicly held company since 1929, Havertys’ leaders and their governing principles have created value for its stockholders and sustained the company through world wars, the Great Depression and, most recently, the worst economic downturn since World War II. Havertys’ current chairman, president and CEO is Clarence H. Smith.
Smith began his Havertys career in the Management Training Program in 1973 and was named president and chief executive officer in 2002. During his more than 40 years with the company, he has served in several capacities at both the operational and corporate levels, including store manager, regional manager of the Mid-South and Atlanta Region, assistant merchandising director, vice president of operations and development and chief operating officer. Smith was elected to the Havertys board of directors in 1989 and chairman in 2012.
During his tenure as president and CEO, Smith has curated an identity for the Havertys brand, making it a constantly evolving entity that develops, designs and sources its own brand. With his extensive experience in retail store operations and distribution, sales and marketing, and brand management, Smith brings unique insight and leadership to bear on Havertys’ challenges, opportunities and operations.
A 1972 graduate of Vanderbilt University, Smith earned his degree in psychology. He attended the graduate program in psychology at Georgia State University and graduated from the Emory University Advanced Management Program. Smith also graduated from the Key Executive Program for the National Home Furnishings Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Smith serves on the board of directors of Oxford Industries, Inc., the Marist School, and the Atlanta Advisory Board of SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, Ga. He has served as past chairman of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, the Better Business Bureau of Atlanta, the American Furniture Hall of Fame, the Advisory Board of High Point University, and the Village of Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta. He has also previously been a member of the Executive Committee for the National Home Furnishings Board and the Executive Committee of the Emory University Board of Visitors.
Smith is married to the former Lamar Fleming of Atlanta and they are members of the Cathedral of Christ of the King. He has two children, Lucy and Alex, and one grandson, Wyly.
Leadership in a changing retail universe This peer-to-peer panel, led by Haverty’s CEO Clarence Smith, will discuss the most critical issues facing furniture retailers today—from merchandising to technology, and human resources to generational change.