August 10, 2022 – John Strackhouse and Bethany George of Caldwell have assisted in the recruitment of Joe Megibow as the new chief executive officer of Bright Cellars, a data-driven wine discovery, curation, and production platform. He formerly served as CEO and board member of Purple Innovation Inc., a digitally-native vertical brand with a mission to help people feel and live better through innovative comfort solutions.
“Joe is a world-class executive with a proven track record of profitably scaling disruptive consumer companies,” said Clara Sieg, Revolution Ventures Partner and Bright Cellars board member. “We are thrilled to have him join as CEO and know he will play a pivotal role as the company continues to reinvent the archaic, nearly $80B U.S. wine industry and appeal to a new generation of wine lovers,”
Mr. Megibow has been at the forefront of digital disruption of legacy industries, focused on marrying E-commerce, business strategy, and innovative technology for over three decades. He led Purple to profitability while more than doubling revenue to over $700 million. In this role, he oversaw significant manufacturing expansion, the launch of national showrooms, and expansion into more than 2,500 wholesale doors.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Megibow served as senior vice president and chief digital officer at American Eagle Outfitters Inc. where he led the transformation and growth of American Eagle’s $550-plus million direct-to-consumer business. Prior to that, Mr. Megibow held several senior roles with Expedia Inc. including VP and general manager of Expedia.com, the $10 billion U.S. online travel business. He started his career as an engineer and was part of the founding team of a customer experience data analytics solution that later successfully sold to IBM.
Amid a massive increase in E-commerce demand, Bright Cellars has expanded its business to reach over $40 million in annual revenue. The Milwaukee-based company is disrupting the $78 billion sector with its wine production, data platform, and personalized taste matching and education.
“Wine has been a part of society for thousands of years – yet has become increasingly complicated and out of reach for many,” said Mr. Megibow. “Bright Cellars’ consumer-centric model, helping to match wine tastes to customers without any prior knowledge of wine, has been missing in the industry. This data-driven approach not only delivers better customer satisfaction, but also enables efficient development and production. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with this innovative team as we fulfill our mission of making it much easier to learn about, receive, and enjoy wine.”
Building on the work of Bright Cellars founders, the senior management team has grown in depth and breadth to include a powerhouse team of consumer, tech, and data executives with diverse backgrounds in CPG, retail, supply chain logistics, and travel. The company was founded in 2014.
Caldwell’s private equity and venture capital practice enlists a group of search consultants who share domain knowledge, relevant search experience and significant operational expertise with the firm’s private equity and venture capital clients. Many of these professionals hold firsthand knowledge of what it takes to succeed in this challenging and complicated environment.
Mr. Strackhouse is a partner in Caldwell’s board and CEO practice, recruiting in the technology, digital, cloud computing, Internet of Things, social media, SaaS, software and industrial markets. Throughout his career, he has leveraged his passion for talent as the driving force for helping his clients create value and build leadership-driven companies. Mr. Strackhouse executes complex searches for board directors, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, and other senior-level roles. He also advises investors and executives at venture capital firms, private equity firms and growth-oriented public companies on succession planning, talent acquisition, leadership and company building.
Ms. George is a consultant in Caldwell’s board and CEO and private equity/venture capital practices. With more than 25 years of search experience, she has recruited more than 125 board directors for companies across a variety of industries, geographies, and ownership structures (public, private, as well as portfolio companies of venture capital and private equity firms). Ms. George’s industry sub-specialties include financial services, consumer, internet, SaaS, energy, and real estate/E&C.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media