- Lively founder and CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant is stepping down from the CEO role at her company and will take on the title of “founder,” effective in October, per a statement from CEO of Wacoal America Mitch Kauffman. Cordeiro Grant will stay in the founder position until March 2023.
- Cordeiro Grant is succeeded by Kristin DiCunzolo, vice president of marketing and direct at the parent company. DiCunzolo’s appointment became effective Monday, and the two will work together until Cordeiro Grant transitions fully in October.
- Wacoal acquired the DTC lingerie brand in 2019 for $105 million.
Another DTC founder is stepping down to make way for a new phase of growth. Cordeiro Grant founded Lively in 2015, and sold the company to Japanese lingerie company Wacoal just a few years later. Now, DiCunzolo will take on the top spot as Grant moves into a more advisory role.
“In 2019 Lively joined Wacoal, and since then the business has more than doubled in size and reach. With the evolution of the business to include wholesale, international, and additional retail stores, the brand has entered a new phase of growth,” Kauffman said. “As such, Michelle has recommended, and accepted a new role, stepping down as CEO and taking up a supporting role as ‘Founder’ effective in October.”
Cordeiro Grant will continue to make public appearances and represent Lively in the media, and will also be an adviser to DiCunzolo and the Lively board. Cordeiro Grant said in a press release that she plans to move on to two separate ventures focused in wellness and Web3, adding that she wants to return to “positions where I can flex the builder, creator, and innovator in me.”
At Lively, Cordeiro Grant emphasized inclusion, setting up the brand as an alternative to the likes of Victoria’s Secret, where she previously worked.
“What I started to realize after five years of being there was: I stopped wearing the product,” Cordeiro Grant told Retail Dive of Victoria’s Secret in 2020. “I was really tired of trying to connect with the marketing because I wasn’t a supermodel. And I started to not feel great about that disconnect.”
Lively did things differently, emphasizing comfort and individuality. The decision to sell to Wacoal was driven by some of those shared values. DiCunzolo and Kauffman in 2020 likewise said that Wacoal acquired Lively in part because the missions and cultures of the companies were so similar.
“They built Lively to inspire women to live passionately, purposefully and confidently — and that is what [Michelle Cordeiro Grant] found to have synergy with Wacoal as well,” DiCunzolo said at the time. “We’re here to support all of this. We’re here to support all women and all of their dynamic natures.”
As she takes on the CEO position, Kauffman praised DiCunzolo’s “extensive and successful background” and her skills as a “strategic thinker, a strong collaborator and team builder.”