Russell Kohl

Russell Kohl

Russell Kohl

President and CEO, Diablo/Freud Tools

2023 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

BS Marketing ’88

Russell Kohl is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Diablo/Freud Tools, an industry leader in manufacturing and marketing superior cutting and portable power tools. Founded in 1960, the corporation owns and operates innovative and technologically advanced manufacturing facilities in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, China and the United States. 

Since joining Diablo/Freud Tools in 2000, Kohl has engineered the company’s North America strategic direction, delivering outstanding operational performance, superior brand recognition and an impressive rise in stakeholder value. This period has been marked by an unprecedented growth, increasing business sixtyfold in just a little over two decades with Kohl at the helm. In addition to his North American responsibilities, Kohl also assists in Diablo/Freud Tools’ overall global strategy and manufacturing direction.

Kohl’s extensive background in sales, finance, marketing, operations and product development has resulted in the successful launch of new brands and divisions for the company. Under his leadership, the company launched its premium line of construction cutting tools and its most successful brand, Diablo Tools. 

Diablo Tools boasts multiple awards, including two-time recipient of Home Depot’s prestigious “Merchandising Innovation” award; the “Hottest Tool” from Wood Magazine; a four-time winner and current holder of Home Depot’s “Partner of the Year” award; and Sphere 1’s respected “Outstanding Cooperation Award,” which has been presented to only three recipients over 20 years. Plus, Diablo Tools has been recognized six times by Home Depot in the “Top 10 Finalist for Merchandising Innovation Award” for a variety of its cutting tools. It’s also a multiyear winner of Sphere 1’s “Vendor of the Year” and “Gateway for Growth Supplier of the Year” awards. 

Kohl’s focus on innovation and his vision to “change the market forever” has elevated Diablo/Freud Tools to reign as producer and promoter of top brands in the construction, industrial, woodworking, MRO and MEP markets.

Kohl formerly served as vice president of new product development, marketing and sales at Peachtree Doors and Windows in Atlanta. In this role, he oversaw a 30% growth in the company while recruiting an energetic leadership team.   

At the beginning of his career, Kohl held successful positions in sales, marketing and product development with the Dewalt division of Black & Decker for 10 years. He worked on the company's launch of its "yellow tools" that grew into an industry-leading, billion-dollar product line.

Outside the office, Kohl brings his energy and work ethic to several projects, including membership in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a leadership community of chief executives, and active involvement with the Atlanta-based Children Helping Children (CHC) nonprofit organization. In addition, he serves on the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Board in Atlanta, Metro Atlanta’s Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, the executive committee of the FSU College of Business Board of Governors and the FSU Foundation Board. 

Kohl earned a bachelor’s in marketing from FSU and holds an MBA from Loyola University Maryland. He also did graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University.