Case Study

CEO for PE-backed Wineshipping

A PE-backed logistics and fulfillment provider for the direct-to-consumer wine market hired a COO from Amazon and Google to drive growth resulting in significant revenue increase, but was replaced after a change in ownership.

By John McCrea

The Client

Wineshipping is the nation’s largest outsourced, temperature-controlled logistics and fulfillment provider serving the direct-to-consumer wine market. The Company operates a network of fulfillment and distribution centers representing more than 2.6 million square feet. Wineshipping’s customers include a mix of leading traditional wineries and rapidly-growing, digitally native wineries across the United States.

The Challenge

Endeavour Capital, the Private Equity owners of Wineshipping were looking to scale the business from both a revenue and profit perspective.  They were looking for growth not only from stealing market share, but from expanding its platform to include developing an online marketplace and expanding into related distribution categories.  The current CEO had done a good job of taking the company to its current level, but was not well-suited for this next stage of growth.

Regarding the ideal candidate profile, while an understanding of the unique nature of the wine industry was considered important, it was more important to find candidates with deep understanding of logistics and distribution as well as a proven track record of scaling a mid-cap business.

The Solution

We researched extensively both into the wine industry as well as the logistics industry and found viable candidates from both pools with respective strengths and value-add to Wineshipping.

We ended up with two finalists, both of whom the client felt were A-plus candidates who could do the job.  One was an experienced CEO who had most recently run a large successful $4B logistics company, and the other had never before been CEO, but had held COO and GM titles in several companies including Amazon (one of the top logistics companies in the world) and Google where the candidate had developed from scratch Google's offering to compete with Amazon in logistics for its small to mid-sized customers.  It was also clear he had all of the other traits to successfully make the transition from COO to CEO.

Wineshipping ultimately opted to hire the latter candidate as his entrepreneurial experience was more relevant, and since Wineshipping is an operationally intensive business, his COO background was seen as a positive.

The Results

Within 2 years of his hiring, the candidate we placed increased the company’s revenues 5x (both through organic and M&A growth), and helped successfully sell Wineshipping to another PE company. 

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