Greenville Textile Executive Dies UnexpectedlySep 26, 2017 12:10PM ● By Emily Stevenson
Longtime Greenville textile executive Mark Kent died on Sunday. Kent, CEO of Kentwool, was the fifth generation of his family to run the company, which was founded in 1843 in Philadelphia. He was a past president of the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) and was active in other industry associations.
Kent guided his company though tough times in the industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and moved it into new areas such as golf socks.
In a 2015 interview with Greenville Business Magazine, he reflected on how the industry has changed and how companies like Kentwool have managed to survive:
“What I see is a far more adaptable and flexible American industry. It used to be a lot of battleships out there, not a lot of speedboats that could turn quickly and do things differently. I might argue that there are more of these speedboats now. They are more aggressive, able to get new ideas to the market faster than ever before.”
Kentwool released the following statement:
“It is with deepest regret that we announce the recent and unexpected passing of Mark Kent, chairman, president and CEO of Kentwool. Mark served as Kentwool’s beloved leader for more than 20 years, and was the fifth generation of Kents to direct the family business. Kentwool flourished under Mark’s leadership, and his loss is felt deeply across the entire organization.
An astute businessman, Mark will be best remembered for his kindness and generosity as well as his exceptional character and infectious smile. Mark was a service-focused leader and man who was committed to serving his family and friends, his employees and his customers.
The Kentwool family will honor his legacy the best way we know how – by continuing to deliver exceptional products and experiences to our valued customers in a manner in which Mark would have been proud.
Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies are with the Kent family during this tremendously difficult time, and our most sincere thanks go out to so many members of the Greenville community who have shared their condolences and support with us today.”