CHICAGO-Barbara Turf, former president and CEO of Crate & Barrel, has died. Turf was 71.
According to press reports, Turf died on July 12 of pancreatic cancer at Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Ill. She is survived by her husband, Robert, three children and two grandchildren.
Turf worked for Crate & Barrel for 45 years, joining in 1967 as a part-time sales associate in the retailer’s first store in the Old Town neighborhood here, according to a company biography of her. She was named director of merchandising and marketing in 1978, and became executive vice president of merchandising and marketing in 1993.
She was named president in 1996 and CEO in 2008, in each case succeeding Gordon Segal, who co-founded the retailer with his wife, Carole, in 1962.
As president, Turf was instrumental in the development of the CB2 format, which launched in 2000, and fostered the company’s relationship with The Land of Nod, a direct marketer of children’s home furnishings that is now wholly owned by Crate & Barrel.
She retired from Crate & Barrel in 2012 and joined the retailer’s board of directors. She was succeeded as CEO by Sascha Bopp and as president by Marta Calle.
At the International Housewares Show in 2011, Turf received the Lifetime Humanitarian Award from the Housewares Charity Foundation.
In a statement issued yesterday, Bopp said, “Barbara Turf’s impeccable eye for style, trend and design defined the merchandising and marketing vision of Crate & Barrel. She touched the lives of thousands of associates and developed invaluable relationships with vendors across the globe. Crate & Barrel would not be the company it is today without Barbara’s leadership, influence and inspiration. She will be missed dearly.”