Opinion

End of era for Springs

The retirement of Crandall Bowles as co-CEO and co-chairwoman of Springs Global is a momentous occasion not only for Springs Industries but also for the U.S. textile industry.

Concurrent with Bowles' departure, the Fort Mill-based textile company will offer stock for public sale in the United States and in Brazil, home of Coteminas, the company that merged with Springs last year to form Springs Global. Bowles partner, Josue Christiano Gomes de Silva, will take charge after she leaves.

Bowles has worked for Springs since 1973, and was promoted to chairwoman and CEO in 1998. Her tenure encompasses an era that saw tumultuous change in the U.S. textile industry, as major manufacturers moved production to other nations to remain competitive in the global economy.

Bowles' promotion to CEO when Walter Elisha retired marked the return of a Springs family member to the position once held by her father, Bill Close. Bowles' mother, Anne Springs Close, is the daughter of former CEO Col. Elliott Springs.

In 1992, Springs had 14,000 South Carolina workers. After recent closings of its remaining two plants in Chester and Lancaster counties, it will have 700 employees in the state, none in factories.

But while Springs Industries may no longer be the dynasty it once was, its contributions and those of the Springs family to the heritage and quality of life of Fort Mill will be felt for generations to come. And while the past decade one has been challenging for the company, Bowles and the Springs leadership have maintained their commitment to employees during tough times.

We join the community in wishing Bowles well in her pending retirement.

Retirement of Crandall Bowles as Springs CEO is a landmark moment for the industry.

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