Anderson Takes Reins At Kohler

Business is good at Destination Kohler in the village of Kohler, WI, says Kohler Co. Hospitality & Real Estate Group President Scott Anderson. It's also thriving at Destination St. Andrews, a Kohler trophy property in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Despite the turbulent economy and increasingly volatile travel market, Anderson, who was just elected to the top spot at the privately held company, is confident.

Confidence could well be Anderson's middle name because he always ends up on top of the hospitality market. In the past decade, he was vice chairman of Quintess, a resort destination club, and CEO of High Country Hospitality, a hospitality management and technology company.

In the late 1990s, Anderson specialized in marketing, technology and property management software distribution for Cendant Corp. From 1994 to 1996, he was a managing director of the Olympic Games in Atlanta, following four years as president of Callaway Gardens. From 1979 to 1990, he was president of the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego. Now he's focusing on Kohler even as he remains on the Quintess board.

His goal: raising the profile of a venerable company that also manufactures toilets, plumbing fixtures and furniture under the names Baker and Maguire. Kohler properties showcase Kohler products. That helps. So do Kohler's obviously deep pockets.

“It's a privately held company, so we don't talk much about money,” Anderson says, “but Kohler does very long-term thinking, so they have a much longer vision.

“I believe real estate is a biblical business, which means seven years of feast and seven years of famine. If you're in a downturn and have the wherewithal to do so, now is the right time to develop.”

Midway between Green Bay and Milwaukee, Destination Kohler includes such holdings as the American Club, a five-diamond hotel of 240 rooms, and the Inn at Woodlake, a 121-room hotel with a slightly lower ADR. Also there: the Kohler Water Spa, a private mansion called Riverbend and a 500-acre nature preserve.

At St. Andrews, Kohler's Old Course Hotel sits on the 17th hole of the “birthplace of golf.” Also on site: another Kohler Water Spa and the Duke's Course, and Kohler is beginning to renovate a castle “that we will sell as a private residence club,” Anderson says. In both Wisconsin and Scotland, Kohler is developing mixed-use projects including condos, residences and fractionals, he adds.

“In addition to Destination Kohler and Destination St. Andrews, we are very interested in developing a warm-weather resort,” Anderson says. Six sites are under consideration for a project likely to be built “from scratch.” It will feature golf, fine dining, whole ownership real estate and fractional product.

“One of the basic principles of Kohler is consistent quality regardless of price point,” says Anderson, noting Kohler divisions include hospitality real estate, plumbing, interiors and generators and engines. The synergy provides an “opportunity to showcase their portfolio in a hospitality environment and deliver on the promise of gracious living.”

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