Howard Lester, chairman and CEO of Williams-Sonoma, will retire after 31 years at the helm of the upscale kitchenware retailer. Lester, 74, bought the four-store San Francisco-based company from founder Chuck Williams in 1978. The chain boasts more than 600 locations and owns the Pottery Barn and West Elm brands. The Williams-Sonoma board plans to name President Laura Alber as its new CEO.
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