2023 People to Watch | John Moray, Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design

In a little more than two years, the leadership at Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design has completely turned over.

In 2021, Bernie Moray, chairman of the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based retailer passed away at age 100. Earlier this year, the elder Moray’s partners — Tom Lias and Jeff Roberts — retired.

John Moray, Bernie’s son, was installed as CEO in April after serving previously as executive vice president for many years. He said the transition has been smooth, and he’s making it a point to soak in everything from everyone.

“The transition was, more or less, planned all along. Even when my father was around, we had all talked about it. Tom was a great mentor, as was my father and Jeff. They all worked really well together,” Moray said. “Tom prodded all of us to plan and push ahead. We always came up as a team with a plan to move forward.

“I’m still following that path. There are always people who have input for you,” he said. “If the guy on the back dock has something that could save you money or make the customer’s experience better, there’s always something to learn from everybody.”

From his father, the younger Moray said he learned how to better deal with people. “My father was fantastic with people. His interpersonal skills, his EQ (emotional quotient) was off the charts. I watched my son, and he has that same ability,” Moray said. “He can talk to anybody anywhere, make them feel comfortable, bring out what they want in life. It’s an amazing thing. If I got half of what my father had, it would be great.”

Roberts showed what having a sense of humor can mean at the leadership level, and Lias’ penchant for planning is something that Moray picked up on as well. He said leadership is about empowering, and he’s carrying on the spirit of collaboration incorporated by Lias, Roberts and his father.

“We spitball a lot of formats. It’s ideas. And then it’s allowing those ideas to grow. If we think it’s a good idea, we all agreed and we pushed it forward. It’s a team effort,” Moray said. “It’s being (Hall of Fame Detroit Tigers manager) Sparky Anderson, holding the team together and pushing us forward.”

So what does a successful year at the helm of Gorman’s look like for Moray? He said it’s all about everybody doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. “

What that means is realistically the team that is surrounding me, we all managed our portions of the plate and we were able to push forward as a team,” he said. “I truly believe it’s a team effort. I couldn’t do it alone; there’s no way. I feel inclusivity is a very important thing.”

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