Southwestern, the 163-year-old direct seller and one of Middle Tennessee’s oldest and largest private corporations, recently announced the appointment of a new CEO. On July 1, Dustin Hillis will be promoted to the position held by Henry Bedford since 2006.
Bedford will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of the corporation and as CEO of Wildtree, a direct selling company within the Southwestern Family of Companies.
“Dustin Hillis is a man of vision and a student of the game,” said Bedford. “In the years I have worked closely with Dustin I have watched him develop business acumen and leadership skills that equip him well for the position of CEO. He is a practitioner of the Southwestern principles that we are well known for and he always leads by example. I am looking forward to supporting Dustin as he takes the reins and leads us toward our 30-year vision to become the largest private company worldwide.”
Hillis is a co-founder and head of the Coaching Business of Southwestern Consulting, a global coaching and consulting company elevating the practice and perception of sales to help clients increase their revenues. Southwestern Consulting has grown by more than 60 percent for five years in a row. His career began while he was a student at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. As a junior, he set a sales record with Southwestern Advantage, making a profit of more than $100,000 in 14 weeks through selling educational products to families and pioneering a new referral method. He is also one of the top personal producers and team leaders at Southwestern Consulting.
Hillis is also the co-author of Navigate 2.0: Selling the Way People Like to Buy; of Navigate; co-author of Speaking of Success (along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield); and the creator of Navigate: How to Create a Referral System audio training series. His insights on professional selling have been featured on some of the biggest podcasts in the world and in media outlets like Entrepreneur magazine and the Dave Ramsey radio show.
Hillis will continue to lead Southwestern Consulting in addition to building additional internal structures to accommodate future growth with new opportunities throughout the Family of Companies and beyond.
The Southwestern Family of Companies is made up of 16 companies in industries that include fundraising, tax services, real estate, executive search, publishing, direct sales, travel, visa sponsorship, financial services, property and casualty insurance, speaking, coaching and consulting.
C. Lee Peeler, Esq., a 33-year veteran of the Federal Trade Commission, is the President and CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and EVP of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.