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Universal Furniture Announces Senior Leadership Team

Furniture World News Desk on 12/9/2022

L to R: Neil MacKenzie and Shannon Lookabill.
L to R: Neil MacKenzie and Shannon Lookabill.

Following the appointment of Sean O’Connor as president of Universal Furniture, the company names Neil MacKenzie and Shannon Lookabill to its senior leadership team. The appointments will take effect January 1, 2023.

“Our goal is to be the easiest company to work with,” said incoming President Sean O’Connor. “The promotions of Neil and Shannon support our purpose to attract and retain customers, both in the retail and interior design community.”

MacKenzie will serve in the newly created role of senior vice president of marketing, supporting O’Connor in the day-to-day management of the company. MacKenzie joined Universal in May 2015 as director of marketing, and was promoted to vice president of marketing in March 2021. During his tenure at Universal, MacKenzie has made a significant impact on how the company markets its products to customers and end consumers, its perception in the marketplace and its acquisition and growth of the interior design market.

MacKenzie lead the development of the brand’s digital ecosystem, from an overhaul of the website and social and email marketing to the creation of the B2B ecommerce tools. His work on licensing agreements and collaborations with high-end interior design and lifestyle brands including Miranda Kerr, Coastal Living and Garden and Gun, have elevated Universal’s perception with the interior design market and the end consumer.

In the fall of 2016, MacKenzie and his team launched the Designers Lounge, an exclusive space for interior design customers to rest, recharge and meet with colleagues during the High Point Market. The Lounge and the nearby Learning Center, which he’s helped develop into a leader in interior designer education, have made Universal one of the best experiences for the interior designer attending High Point Market.

Shannon Lookabill, currently serving as director of product development, will become vice president of product development, leading the direction of the company’s casegood and upholstery lines and translating home trends into saleable products that meet the needs of the company’s retail and interior design customers. Lookabill joined Universal Furniture full time in June of 2019, but has been developing collections for the company as a contract designer since 2008.

Lookabill is the architect of multiple Pinnacle Award-winning collections including Coastal Living Outdoor (Outdoor Collections) and Modern (Luxury Bedroom), in addition to designing the company’s successful Past Forward, Tranquility and Erinn V. collections. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Lookabill engineered a virtual product development process, which allowed uninterrupted manufacturing of new designs during a time of global supply chain issues.

He is a graduate of the prestigious Kendall College of Art and Design. Before joining Universal, Lookabill spent 24 years as a furniture designer in Grand Rapids, Mich.



About Universal

Retailers and interior designers around the world trust Universal Furniture’s award-winning, smart and stylish designs to create modern, well-appointed living spaces for the whole home. The company’s casegood, upholstery, accent and outdoor designs are developed under the brand names Universal Furniture, Miranda Kerr Home and Coastal Living.

Universal Furniture, founded in 1968 and based in High Point, N.C., is the recipient of 13 Pinnacle awards for design excellence from the International Society of Furniture Designers. It is a brand of Samson Holdings, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated furniture manufacturers. For more information, visit www.universalfurniture.com, or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @UniversalFurn.