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Wisconsin 275
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James Bakke

President and CEO
Sub-Zero group Inc.  |  Madison

James Bakke has led Sub-Zero Group for the past 30 years. He represents the third generation of family leadership at the Madison-based manufacturer of refrigeration, freezer and wine storage products. Sub-Zero operates production facilities in Madison, Fitchburg; Phoenix and Goodyear, Arizona; and Richmond, Kentucky. In recent years, it has completed a $62 million expansion of its Fitchburg plant to accommodate another 300 employees. This year, the company announced plans to build a 400,000-square-foot assembly plan in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The $140.6 million project is expected to create 192 jobs.

Earlier under Bakke’s leadership, the company acquired Wolf Range Co., adding residential cooking appliances – such as cooktops, wall ovens, warming drawers and ventilation equipment – to its portfolio. In 2018, the company launched the Cove brand of dishwashers. Also during his tenure, Sub-Zero has introduced product lines, including various types of wine storage equipment.

Bakke has served on the board of directors of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, PDQ Corp. and the Madison Ronald McDonald House. Before becoming president, Bakke spent 10 years working in various positions within the family business. He began his career in 1977 as a sales representative with Oscar Mayer Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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