Cotopaxi sets out to find the company’s first president

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

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

Smith said given the rate of growth of the business, it was time to find additional executives to help run the ship.

“It is much easier to achieve our goals if we have someone who is an expert in this area. [type of scaling] and already has, ”Smith told Outside Business Journal.

Smith said he made the search for a company president official in early 2020, but the pandemic derailed those plans, forcing him to become more involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Now that things are returning to some sense of normalcy, he said now is the time to restart the research in earnest.

Cotopaxi claims to be on track to become a billion dollar company over the next 10 years, aided by a large injection of cash from Bain Capital’s Double Impact investment 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 more than 1,000 “in the next few years.”

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

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Bain Capital Double Impact’s chief executive, Cecilia Chao, said her team would help with research, while “bringing value-added insights and resources” to the process, such as “introducing the leadership team to potentials. [candidates] who have the expertise and proven results to increase the growth of Cotopaxi.

She added that Bain also sees an opportunity to help Cotopaxi expand its global omnichannel retail strategy, which supports the company’s growth plans at the brick and mortar level. At the start of 2020, Cotopaxi had just two physical retail stores and now has six locations in the United States, with a seventh opening soon in Denver. Smith says that number will increase in the years to come.

A new role to strengthen Cotopaxi’s corporate structure

Smith was quick to point out that the research is not meant to replace someone 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 are looking for a collaborative leader to work with them,” he said.

Smith said the company isn’t necessarily looking for an outdoor space executive, just for someone who has led a fast-moving brand and knows how to get the most out of rapid growth.

Cotopaxi’s C-suite will be involved in the interview process, and Smith is still considering how the formal reporting structure under the president will work once the person is hired. Smith said Cotopaxi’s goal is to have someone in place by mid-2022.

Smith added that he was not considering hiring a recruiter and that the new hire was among many upcoming additions to the management team. To fill these roles, he said, Cotopaxi actively leads its recruitment process with diversity and broad perspectives in mind.

As for Smith himself, he said he plans to continue his work as CEO “for the foreseeable future” while focusing on driving Cotopaxi’s social missions through the next phase of “hyper- growth, “as he put it. “I plan to be involved with Cotopaxi my whole life,” he said.

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