Jan Heck heads to Miele USA

The Canadian president talks about his priorities for the brand ahead of leading its U.S. operations this summer.

Jan Heck

Appliance manufacturer Miele has named Jan Heck, president of Miele Canada, the new president of the company’s U.S. operations.

Heck has been president of Miele Canada since 1999. He is replacing Nick Ord, who will be stepping down from his position in July to pursue interests outside the industry. Ord has been with Miele for the last 34 years and was one of the executives who helped to launch the German brand in North America in 1983. The search for Heck’s replacement in Canada is ongoing but is expected to be completed before he assumes his new role this summer.

Heck says that while one of his first priorities will be familiarizing himself with differences in consumer behaviour in the larger U.S. market, he will be doing so while continuing to develop the brand, preparing for new product launches and continuing the launch plans for recent products like its new line of kitchen ranges. Heck says one advantage he has coming into this role is that Miele has been set up in North America in a way that its business model and priorities are very similar between Canada and the U.S.

“One thing that stands out for me is that Miele has a solid foundation in the U.S. because Nick has done a phenomenal job building the brand there,” he says. “My intention is to continue that good work, because we’re still at the early stage of an implementation strategy of new key products and exploring new potential growth areas.”

Miele is a family-owned, premium brand, and as such Heck says the expectation is that Miele will continue its emphasis on quality and design. As those elements more frequently intersect with the internet of things and the connected home, and those features become increasingly important to consumers, Heck says the focus is not just going to be on developing and expanding the small line of connected appliances Miele currently offers, but continuing to build the customer service that will facilitate their use.

“Having the newest technology and best products is important, but you also have to make sure the customer is looked after following the purchase,” Heck says. “We are not as advanced as other categories, like consumer electronics, because delivering a 500 pound fridge and building it into a kitchen is a bit more complex than buying a TV or vacuum. With premium brands, the expectation is that you’re at the forefront of tech and design, but also that you deliver the appliance on time, properly, install it, get it running and follow up with proper service to make sure it keeps running.”