W.C. Bradley putting Char-Broil in hands of its first female CEO

BodyMedia executive Christine Robins to take charge of outdoor grill division June 2

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comMay 2, 2014 

The Char-Broil division of W.C. Bradley Co. will soon have the first female top executive in its history.

Columbus-based W.C. Bradley said Friday Christine “Chris” Robins will take the helm of the grill-manufacturing operation on June 2. She becomes president and chief executive officer, succeeding Alan Shaw, who departed the company in July 2013.

W.C. Bradley President and CEO Marc Olivié had run Char-Broil on a temporary basis since Shaw’s exit.

“Chris has an excellent background with two major and globally respected consumer products companies,” Olivié said in a statement. “Chris brings broad-based experience to Char-Broil in strategic planning, finance, acquisition and integration, product innovation, channel strategy, global marketing and brand management.”

Robins comes to Char-Broil from Pittsburgh-based BodyMedia, a company specializing in sensors and software that can be worn using armbands to monitor health and fitness activity. She was hired as president and CEO of that company in 2009. BodyMedia was bought out by competitor, San Francisco-based Jawbone, a year ago.

She also has served as president and CEO of Philips Oral Healthcare in Seattle, leading what W.C. Bradley called “dramatic growth in revenues” and a major expansion into Eastern Europe and Asia. She was a marketing vice president with Philips’ Sonicare brand before that.

Robins soon will take charge of Char-Broil, a leading gas grill brand that dates to 1949, when the W.C. Bradley Co. made its first cast iron barbecue grill at the Columbus Iron Works in the city’s downtown area. The company added gas grills in the 1960s and since has launched other lines of outdoor cooking equipment, including smokers, fryers and infrared grills.

Privately owned W.C. Bradley Co., founded in 1885, has roots in the agricultural and textile industries, at one time or another manufacturing farm equipment, supplying building contractors and delving into cotton and livestock production. Today, it is best known for its stable of business brands that include Char-Broil, Zebco and Lamplight. It also operates W.C. Bradley Real Estate.

Robins, a native of Green Bay, Wisc., is a 1988 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance. She earned a master’s in business administration from Marquette University in 1994.

Her first job out of college was with Racine, Wisc.-based S.C. Johnson, which is known for its household products and brands, including Raid, Glade, Shout, Windex, Ziploc, Pledge, Scrubbing Bubbles and OFF! She was with S.C. Johnson 17 years, her final position there as category manager with Raid Insecticides.

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