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Outside Business Journal

Cotopaxi Begins Search for First Company President

The role will report to founder Davis Smith, who will remain CEO

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Geoff Nudelman

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Cotopaxi is set to begin the search for its first company president, the brand announced today. 

The role is being created during a period of considerable expansion for the Utah-based company, which has nearly doubled its revenue every year since the brand’s founding in 2014, according to CEO and co-founder Davis Smith. (Cotopaxi does not share exact financials.)

Smith says that, given the company’s rate of growth, it’s time to find additional leaders to help steer the ship.

“It’s a lot easier to accomplish our goals if we have someone who is an expert in this [type of scaling] and has done it before,” Smith tells Outside Business Journal.

Smith says he formalized the search for a company president at the beginning of 2020, but the pandemic derailed those plans, forcing him to get more involved with the day-to-day operations of the business. Now that things are returning to some sense of normalcy, he says the time is right to restart the search in earnest.

Cotopaxi claims to be well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar company in the next 10 years, aided by a large cash infusion from Bain Capital’s Double Impact investing arm earlier this year. Smith says he expects Cotopaxi to grow from 180 employees at the end of 2021 to 300 by the end of 2022, and potentially to well over 1,000 “in the next handful of years.”

Cotopaxi co-founder Davis Smith will remain with the company as CEO. (Photo: Cotopaxi)

Bain Capital’s Role in the Search

Bain Capital Double Impact managing director Cecilia Chao says her team will assist with the search, while also “bringing value-added insights and resources,” to the process, such as “introducing the management team to potential [candidates] who have the expertise and demonstrated results to augment Cotopaxi’s growth.”

She added that Bain also sees an opportunity to help Cotopaxi expand its global omni-channel retail strategy, which supports the company’s growth plans at the brick-and-mortar level. In early 2020, Cotopaxi had just two physical retail stores, and now has six locations in the U.S., with a seventh opening soon in Denver. Smith says that number will grow in the years ahead.

A New Role To Bolster Cotopaxi’s Corporate Structure

Smith was quick to point out that the search isn’t meant to replace anyone currently on the team, but rather to support the evolving structure of the company as a whole. “We have an exceptional team of strategic leaders and thinkers, and we’re looking for a collaborative leader to work with them,” he says.

Smith says the company isn’t necessarily looking for an executive from the outdoor space, just for someone who has led a quick-scaling brand and knows how to make the most of rapid growth. 

Cotopaxi’s C-suite will be involved in the interview process, and Smith is still thinking about how the formal reporting structure beneath the president will work once the individual is hired. Smith says it’s Cotopaxi’s goal to have someone in place by mid-2022. 

Smith added that he doesn’t plan to use a recruiter, and that the new hire is part of numerous upcoming additions to the leadership team. To fill those roles, he says, Cotopaxi is actively running its hiring process with diversity and broad perspectives in mind.

As for Smith himself, he says he plans to continue his work as CEO “for the foreseeable future” while transitioning his focus to the shepherding of Cotopaxi’s social missions through the next phase of “hyper-growth,” as he put it. “I foresee myself being involved with Cotopaxi for my entire life,” he says.

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