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Ethan Allen CEO Describes Challenges of Running a Global Organization

Globalization has had varying effects on countries and economies throughout the world. In the first of a series of conversations, NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman talks to Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc.

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  • PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent:

    Ethan Allen furniture, how much more American can you get? The green mountain boy himself was a hero of the American Revolution. For decades, the colonial facade and furniture named after him were, for Ethan Allen's customers, early Americana incarnate.

    And the company is still the state of Vermont's biggest employer. And, yet, Ethan Allen is about as global a company as you're likely to find, though world headquarters are here in Danbury, Connecticut.

  • FAROOQ KATHWARI, CEO, Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc.:

    The product is made in the Philippines, but all the upholstery is done right here in the United States.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    That's Ethan Allen's CEO, Farooq Kathwari, born and raised in Kashmir, an area both India and Pakistan have claimed for decades. Kathwari emigrated to the U.S. in 1965; he sold Kashmiri handicrafts to, among others, Ethan Allen, while getting an MBA at NYU, has been president and part-owner of the company since 1985.

  • FAROOQ KATHWARI:

    As we get into, say, this area, this is somewhat more of the classic 18th-century traditional.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Ethan Allen now makes furniture all over the world, global styles, global sourcing.

  • FAROOQ KATHWARI:

    And if you look, for instance, at a chair like this, the frame, the metal frame is made in the United States. This leather is cut and sewn in Mexico, and it is upholstered in our plant here in North Carolina. This is Appalachian cherry, solid cherry. And these chairs are made in China.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Where's the American flag pillow made?

  • FAROOQ KATHWARI:

    Well, most American flags are made in China, as you know.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Most American flags are…

  • FAROOQ KATHWARI:

    … are made in China, but I would say let's give the benefit of the doubt it was made in America, because it's an American sofa.

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