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An Allen family gathering at Atlanta Kiwanis

At Atlanta Kiwanis Tuesday, Louise Allen Moore recounted her tenure of nearly four years as CEO of Ivan Allen Workspace.

In December, Moore sold her stake in the company, bringing to an end one of the country’s oldest remaining family businesses. She was the fourth generation of the Allen family to run the business before selling her 51 percent interest to Allsteel, a furniture manufacturer.

In her talk at Kiwanis, Moore traced back the roots of the company to her great-grandfather, Ivan Allen Sr., who started the business in 1902. He would deliver office supplies on his bicycle.

His only son was Ivan Allen Jr., who took over the company and became mayor of Atlanta in the tumultuous 1960s. The other CEOs were Ivan Allen III and his brother Inman Allen.

It was Inman Allen who detected his daughter’s potential interest in taking over the business. And that’s how she became CEO in May 2005.

During her time, she instituted a whole new leadership team; she switched the office furniture product line relationship to Allsteel; she emphasized customer service; and she tried to update the image and the brand of the company.

She then decided that it was time for her to leave for personal and professional reasons.

“The end of 2008 was the end of an era,” she said of the family no longer having a relationship with the company. “It was time for me personally to go find the next opportunity.”

The luncheon talk was especially heartwarming because Moore’s parents — Inman and Tricia Allen, and her newlywed husband — Lane More — were in the audience.

After her talk, a larger group of Kiwanians gathered around her to recount their own memories with the company and the family as well as wish her the best in her next venture.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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