Executive Search for a Consumer COO & CEO Successor With an Iconic Brand


The Challenge: Consumer Brand & Leading Growth

An iconic American heritage apparel brand with a 150 year history, worn by presidents, patriots, and pioneers, approached N2Growth in the fall of 2020. As a global, multi-generational family enterprise, they had a legacy of leadership at the top, from family ownership to outside executives but recognized untapped brand potential in their core area of licensing and a strong opportunity to bolster sales with a burgeoning direct-to-consumer eCommerce platform.  With such limitless growth potential, the owners sought an experienced Chief Operating Officer and CEO successor capable of shepherding the operational foundation of the business into a state of sustained growth and expansion.  

The challenge lay in identifying a leader with the global clout and licensing experience at the highest levels but with the entrepreneurial drive, resourcefulness, and stewardship mindset necessary to scale a family enterprise.  These qualities were essential in preserving the brand’s historical craftsmanship and representing its enduring American spirit.

As a family business, acute cultural sensitivity and a foundation of trust were paramount.  The ideal candidate needed to be comfortable stepping into their private company dynamic, capable of navigating the complexities of this century-old family ownership, and willing to approach the position with patience and faith in their ability to deliver results.

The Mission: A Trust-Centric Approach to Executive Search

Following a robust alignment and calibration process with ownership around profile direction, N2Growth’s five-person search and research team began building a pipeline of licensing and apparel leaders with not only the necessary track record of sales growth in established and sophisticated brands but the eCommerce and digital sales experience needed to grow this more nascent side of the business.  From a list of over 500 candidates, they filtered to those executive leaders with a mix of sales and general management accomplishments across small and medium-sized brands, indicating the resourcefulness and entrepreneurial mindset necessary to lead sustainable growth for the iconic brand.

The Result: A Partner in Your Brand's Legacy and Expansion

Following a national search process covering the leading global licensing entities across a wide variety of fashion and apparel categories, N2Growth identified the candidate perfectly aligned with the COO position.  With experience as a commercial leader, President, and General Manager, as well as profit and loss accountability for multiple brands, including privately held family businesses, the candidate demonstrated cultural acuity and sensitivity beyond many of his peers.

His strong values and alignment with the brand and ownership made him the perfect leader for the present and future state of the business. After an impressive tenure as COO that included further development of the digital platform, signing a prolific actor in one of America’s most popular streaming shows as a brand ambassador and marketing campaign leader, and achieving licensing sales growth of nearly 80%, this candidate was promoted from COO to CEO in just 18 months.

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