Central States, Inc. has announced the appointment of Jigisha Desai and Scott Deakin to its board of directors. Desai is the former executive vice president and chief financial and strategy officer of Granite Construction Company. Deakin is the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Gypsum Management & Supply, Inc. Their election brings the number of Central States Directors to six as the 100 percent employee-owned company leverages outside ideas and thought partnerships to positively impact its employee-owners.

“On behalf of the board and management of Central States, I want to express our warm welcome to Jigisha Desai and Scott Deakin,” stated Jim Sliker, CEO and chairman of Central States. “Both bring a wealth of insight, perspective and financial expertise that, along with our other independent directors, will continue to grow our company and further Central States’ purpose of providing for the well-being and financial freedom of our employee-owners.”

Desai’s distinguished 30-year career encompasses extensive experience as a financial expert, board director and strategic leader with a focus on corporate finance, risk management, business leadership and corporate strategy. Desai has been serving as a director and member of the audit, nomination and governance committees for Tutor Perini Corporation since December 2021 and 1st Capital Bank since June 2020. A Certified Treasury Professional and an active member of the Association of Financial Professionals, Desai earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Houston and a Master of Business Administration degree in corporate finance from Golden Gate University. Additionally, she is an alumna of the Advanced Management Program and Women Executives on Boards from Harvard Business School and has attained certifications in Cyber and Business Risk for Board Members from the DCRO Risk Governance Institute. Beyond her corporate endeavors, Desai is a passionate advocate for education and women’s advancement, contributing her expertise to not-for-profit boards, such as Pacific Collegiate School, Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley and Girls Inc.

Jigisha Desai Headshot

Jigisha Desai

Photo courtesy of Central States

“As I have been learning more about Central States’ growth and strategies, I see clearly the company’s commitment to sound governance and its purpose,” Desai stated. “Based on my previous experience working with ESOP-centric companies, I know the impact that being employee-owned can contribute to culture and decision-making, and I look forward to contributing as a member of the board.”

Deakin is a proven leader across both manufacturing and distribution sectors with a 25-year track record. His career includes more than a decade as a chief financial officer for both privately held companies and SEC registrants. Deakin has distinguished himself as a CFO, president and group executive, and strategic M&A executive, leading diversified companies, including Eaton Corporation; Barnes Group Inc.; Ensign-Bickford Industries; and Lydall, Inc. In these roles, Deakin consistently delivered transformational change while improving the fidelity of financial controls and reporting and contributed to the realization of growth and higher profitability. Deakin earned his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and an MBA degree in finance and operations from Carnegie Mellon University, with post-graduate executive education at Dartmouth College. He has served on the Board of Directors of The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and The Hartford Symphony and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“I am looking forward to working alongside the board and leadership to capture opportunities for growth, prioritize investments and mitigate risks as we protect the interests of Central States’ employee-owners and deliver for Central States’ customers,” Deakin stated. “The impressive growth history of Central States is evidence of the importance the company has put on long-term employee-ownership interests in delivering a compelling value proposition for the market.”

In addition to the board placements of Desai and Deakin, Sliker has been appointed chairman of the board, replacing Matt Kramer, who retired in January. Christopher Harrison, accomplished C-suite executive, board director and advisor, was appointed to the Central States board last year, joining existing members Tina Chang, chief executive officer of SysLogic, Inc.; Matt Stites, president of Clayton Supply; and Tom Ferree, who will retire from the Central States board in June after nine years of service.

According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, Central States is one of 6,500 ESOP companies in the United States, across all industries, and one of only 2,552 that are over 100 employees.