Kohler Company leader Herb Kohler put Wisconsin on the world golf stage

Kohler Company leader Herb Kohler put Wisconsin on the world golf stage
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Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., a business titan who built his family’s namesake manufacturing company and put Wisconsin on the world golf stage with the creation of a course called Whistling Straits, has died.

Kohler was 83 years old when he died on Saturday.

“His zest for life, adventure and impact inspire us all,” his family said in a statement Sunday. “We travel together, celebrate together and work together. He was involved, all along, leaving an indelible mark on how we live our lives today and carry on his legacy.”

Kohler was CEO of Kohler Company for 43 years before turning the role over to his son, David Kohler, in 2015. Since then, he has remained with the company as CEO.

Herbert Vollrath Kohler Jr., president of the Kohler Company, is pictured Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.

During his time as CEO, Kohler grew the company from a $133 million operation in 1972 to one approaching $6 billion in annual revenue by 2015.

The company credits Herb Kohler with having the foresight to understand that the company’s business, although it involved manufacturing plumbing fixtures, was actually about designing products that create pleasure for users. Under his leadership, the Kohler Company created products that were not simply functional, but created a joyous and memorable experience for those who used them.

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