Bonobos founder hands off CEO role
Bonobos founder Andy Dunn has stepped down as CEO, tapping co-president and Chief Marketing Officer Micky Onvural to fill the role, he wrote in a Linkedin post Tuesday and confirmed to Retail Dive. Dunn will now assume the role of "leader of the board," "voice for the customer" and "chief cheerleader and scorekeeper," among other things.
Dunn, who founded Bonobos in 2007, still holds the role of SVP of digital consumer brands at Walmart, which acquired the menswear brand last summer for $310 million.
Micky Onvural joined Bonobos two years ago as chief marketing officer and after 10 months added the co-president title. She previously served as VP of consumer marketing at Trulia and senior manager of global brand development at eBay, among other positions. Onvural's first day as CEO was Monday, according to Inc.
Onvural, who started her career at a women's cosmetics company, is now one of few female CEOs to lead a menswear brand. And she hasn't been afraid to push the boundaries of the category.
Onvural spearheaded a controversial ad, released this summer, that challenged the definition of masculinity. The video campaign, #EvolveTheDefinition, garnered twice as many dislikes as likes, but has over 10 million views on YouTube.
"Instead of being disappointed in Micky for not delivering a more universally loved campaign, we are grateful to her for her leadership in standing firm on a powerful message," Dunn wrote in a separate LinkedIn post announcing Onvural's promotion. "Most people would have been scared to light that kind of fire on the internet. Not Micky. She believes in a world where brands stand for something."
As Dunn hands over the reins after 11 years at the helm, he shared that he felt he had over time begun juggling three jobs: founder, CEO and chairman of the board. "For some period of time, you do all three. Some founders want to do all three in perpetuity, and not plan for any change. They do so at their peril," he said. "No founder is CEO of their company forever. At some point, you have to plan for succession. Or the universe will plan it for you."
Now that Dunn will take a backseat to the day-to-day operations, he shared some parting wisdom on the qualities he believes make up the leadership role he is leaving behind: courage, joy, humility and fit. "To build an innovative culture requires leading from joy versus leading from fear. For people to be unafraid, they need to feel safe: safe to experiment, safe to fail, safe to share ideas, safe to disagree, safe to joke, and above all safe to be themselves," he said.
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