Outdoor Voices on Thursday appointed Gabrielle Conforti as CEO, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.
Conforti joins the direct-to-consumer athletics brand with more than 15 years of retail and apparel experience, including as chief merchandising officer and president of Urban Outfitters. Before that, she oversaw merchandising and buying across multiple categories at J. Crew.
- Conforti's appointment comes about eight months after interim CEO Cliff Moskowitz departed the company.
It's been about one year since Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney stepped down as CEO.
At the time of her resignation, media reports suggested that there was a division between the founder and other members of the board. Haney, in her own words, said she "experienced both gender and generational differences firsthand and these have been very tough to navigate," according to an Instagram post from last March.
Over the past year, the DTC brand has also had its profitability questioned — something some publicly traded online brands, like Casper and Chewy, have proven to be very difficult to achieve because of high customer acquisition costs. Outdoor Voices said in its release that it has "recently become profitable."
Bringing seasoned retail veterans to help lead direct-to-consumer brands toward sustainable, profitable growth has emerged as a trend in recent years. DTC luggage brand Away brought on former Lululemon executive Stuart Haselden as CEO after founder Steph Korey stepped down following media reports looking into the company's culture. A month later, Korey was back, leading the company as co-CEO alongside Haselden until October, when she officially exited the role. Haselden has now also left the CEO post to take over at Arcteryx.
Brandless appeared to have adopted a similar strategy, announcing in 2019 that co-founder Tina Sharkey would move out of the CEO role so that the company could look for a "seasoned retail operator" to lead the company. About one year later, however, Brandless shut down entirely. (The company relaunched under new ownership last June.)
At Outdoor Voices, Nike veteran Pamela Catlett joined the retailer as chief operating officer and president in 2019, and former J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler stepped into the Chairman role in 2017. Both have since left the company, Catlett just five months into the role.
The new CEO, who has experience at Urban Outfitters and J. Crew, will be tasked with launching new products, investing in its Recreationalist community and creating a vision for the company moving forward.
"This is an exciting new chapter for Outdoor Voices and we are confident that Gabrielle is the right leader to accelerate the company's growth and continue the positive trajectory," Outdoor Voices Chairwoman Ashley Merrill said in a statement. "She is a passionate, innovative and experienced executive and the perfect person to take Outdoor Voices to the next level."