Trailblazer and Tycoon: Conversation on Success and Leadership with Ethan Allen's Chairman and CEO Farooq Kathwari

Farooq Kathwari

Photo courtesy of Farooq Kathwari

Farooq Kathwari is not only a global business leader but a leader in interfaith relations and community building. His journey from the city of Srinagar (Kashmir) to becoming Chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors is a testimony to his perseverance. Mr. Kathwari originally arrived in the United States as a student in 1965, and while pursuing his graduate business degree at New York University, created a company supplying Kashmiri crewelwork for Ethan Allen. From there, Mr. Kathwari ascended through Ethan Allen until he became President in 1985 and Chairman and CEO in 1988. Through his leadership, Mr. Kathwari has established a values-driven business that promotes the wellbeing of employees as well as the regions where it operates. He advocates for the role of global businesses in encouraging good governance in the countries where they have a presence.

In addition to his business leadership in global social responsibility and sustainability practices, Mr. Kathwari is active in community-building and strongly believes in the importance of interfaith relations. He serves as co-chair of the AJC's Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, an organization founded to address anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish bigotry in the U.S., and is also part of the bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States, which studies the underlying causes of extremism and examines policies that can address them.

Join Asia Society Texas Center for a conversation with Mr. Kathwari about his life journey, a successful career at the helm of one of the country's leading manufacturers and retailers of home furnishings, his leadership in civic and interfaith organizations, and the legacy he hopes to leave.


Thursday, April 16, 2020
6 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Program

About the Speaker

Farooq Kathwari is the chairman, president, and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. He has been president of the company since 1985, and chairman and CEO since 1988.

Mr. Kathwari serves in numerous capacities at several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee; a member of the advisory board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; chairman emeritus of Refugees International; an advisory member of the New York Stock Exchange; former chairman of the National Retail Federation; director emeritus and former chairman and president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance; a director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University; co-chairman of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council; and a member of the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace. He also serves on the boards of the Western Connecticut State University Foundation, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, and ArtsWestchester. He is the founder of the Kashmir Study Group, and he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2010 to 2014.

Recently, Mr. Kathwari was tapped to join the congressionally mandated United States Institute of Peace bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States co-chaired by Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, who formerly led the 9/11 Commission.

Among his recognitions, Mr. Kathwari is a recipient of the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. He has been recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the U.S. government. He has received the Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute Lifetime of Leadership Award; the New American Dream Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants Legacy Award; the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal; the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee; the National Retail Federation Gold Medal; the International First Freedom Award from the Council for America’s First Freedom; Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award; City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry Spirit of Life® Award; and the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the National Association of Asian MBAs. He has also been recognized by Worth magazine as one of the 50 Best CEOs in the United States.

Mr. Kathwari holds BAs in English Literature and Political Science from Kashmir University, Srinagar, and an MBA in International Marketing from New York University, New York. He is also the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees.

About the Moderator

Martyn Goossen

Martyn E. Goossen is Vice Chairman of the J.P. Morgan Private Bank and President of JPMorgan Chase Bank – Houston Region. Marty has over 45 years of experience in financial services, nearly all of which has been in the wealth management field. The majority of his career was spent working in Asia. Marty and his wife, Kathy, moved to Hong Kong with Citibank in 1978. Marty joined JPMorgan Chase in Tokyo in 1988 and remained in Asia until 2006, with assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2006, he moved to Houston to become head of the JPMorgan Private Bank in South Texas. In 2017, Marty was appointed to Vice Chairman of the J.P. Morgan Private Bank focusing on the South and Central regions of the United States. Marty has undertaken a number of civic responsibilities in Houston. He serves on the boards of the Museum of Fine Arts - Houston, the Asia Society Texas Center, Central Houston Inc., and The Houston Zoo. He is also a member of the Council of Overseers at Rice University’s Jones School of Business and is a Director of the Singapore American School Foundation. Marty received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1977 and a B.S. in Economics from Union College in Schenectady, New York.

About the Muslim Series

Through a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes Asia Society’s breadth of programming opportunities, this series explores the artistic talents and stories of Muslim Americans to inspire our community to better understand one another.

For information about sponsoring the Muslim Series and other programs like this one, please contact Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Director of Development, at or 713.496.9909.

Series Sponsors

Eddie Allen and Chinhui Juhn

Alliance for Compassion and Tolerance

Shaista Khan and Shahzad Bashir

Drs. Basheer and Saleha Khumawala

Monira and Azam Kundi

Shazma and Arshad Matin

Selma and Mustafa Tameez

Event Details

Thu 16 Apr 2020
6 - 8 p.m.

1370 Southmore Boulevard

Houston, Texas 77004


Buy Tickets
$20 Members, $30 Nonmembers
Add to Calendar 20200416T230000 20200417T010000 UTC Asia Society: Trailblazer and Tycoon: Conversation on Success and Leadership with Ethan Allen's Chairman and CEO Farooq Kathwari 1370 Southmore Boulevard Houston, Texas 77004 713.496.9901