PetSmart on Thursday announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer, President and board member Michael J. Massey. He joined PetSmart as CEO when it went private in 2015 and has led the retailer through strategic transformation aimed at strong growth and profitability, and his departure was his decision, the company said.
Raymond Svider, co-chairman and a managing partner of private equity firm BC Partners will serve as Executive Chairman to oversee the pet supplies retailer’s operations with the senior leadership team as the board searches for Massey’s replacement, according to a press release.
In April the company announced the acquisition of online pet supply retailer Chewy.
Pet supply retail has grown in recent years, and grocery stores and general merchandise retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have expanded their offerings. Rising pet ownership in the U.S. has helped retailers in the space weather the Great Recession fairly well.
That’s leading to more spending, research shows. Households that view their dogs as family members spent $438 on average at the vet, compared to $266 in households that view their dog as a “pet or companion,” and $190 on those who view their dog as property, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. More Americans are pet owners these days, too, increasing from 53.6% to 56.5% between 2009 and 2013, with pet ownership in nearly 67 million households.
As a result of that market growth and its own strategies, PetSmart has been growing since it was taken private by a consortium of private equity buyers in 2014 — expanding its store footprint, moving into more pet health care services and revamping its website. Its growth ambitions are plain, and the acquisition of Chewy, which quickly became popular in the pet supplies space since its founding in 2011, greatly expands the brick-and-mortar company’s reach.
Svider thanked Massey for his leadership during its transitional phase since going private. “Michael was instrumental in creating an efficient, customer-focused retail organization and developing the Company’s growth strategy," he said in a statement. "This includes the recent acquisition of Chewy, making PetSmart the leading brick and mortar and online retailer in the industry. We respect Michael’s decision and are grateful for his many achievements while CEO of PetSmart.”