Log In

Ernest M. Wuliger Edit Profile

businessman , instructor

Ernest M. Wuliger was an American businessman who transformed the Ohio Mattress Company into the largest mattress manufacturer in the United States, the Sealy Corporation.

Background

Wuliger was born to a Jewish family in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Frank Wuliger. His father ran the Ohio Mattress Company which was founded in 1907 by his father Moris Wuliger, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant.

Education

Student, University Chicago.

Career

In 1939, Wuliger dropped out of college and joined the family business as a payroll clerk and purchasing assistant. During World War II he served as a radar instructor in the United States Navy. After the war, he re-joined the family business and in the 1950s, he was running the company and officially named president after his father died in 1963.

He was later named chairman. In 1970, Ohio Mattress went public, the only publicly held mattress manufacturer in the United States. The initial public offering raised money for further expansion and Wuliger changed the company's name to Ohio-Sealy Mattress Manufacturing Company.

In 1983, he purchased the mattress manufacturer Stearns & Foster. In 1924, Ohio Mattress had purchased a local license to make Sealy-branded mattresses in Cleveland and soon acquired other regional licenses in Boston, Houston, and Puerto Rico but was blocked by Sealy and its other franchisees from acquiring more. The conflict resulted in Wuliger filing an antitrust suit against Sealy in 1971.

Unable to come up with the $77 million judgment, Sealy Incorporated and all but one of the other franchisees were forced to sell to Ohio Mattress. Wuliger's share of the transaction was $100 million. In 1990, he attempted to buy back the Stearns & Foster division for $87.5 million but failed.

Achievements

  • In 1986, he won a long time dispute against the Sealy Mattress Company. The court ruled in Ohio Mattress' favor and awarded Ohio Mattress $77 million.

Connections

Married.

partners:
Leonard Green