Kirk Palmer Associates Recruits CEO for Solo Brands

January 31, 2024 – Retailers are facing major shifts in their businesses that call for “unprecedented responses” by CEOs who can effectively lead through change, intuitively and analytically understand the evolving consumer, and respond to ambiguity, according to search consultants. Developed markets, excess retail capacity, rising prices, the shift to omni-channel retail and the unpredictable pace of change in consumer shopping habits all affect the type of leader that retailers need. Retail-focused executive search firm Kirk Palmer Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Christopher T. Metz as president and CEO of Solo Brands, Inc. in Grapevine, TX. He succeeds John Merris. Partner Lindsay Stevens and search manager Sarah Basto led the assignment.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris to Solo Brands as our new CEO,” said Matt Hamilton, chairman of Solo Brands’ board of directors. “Chris is known for building high performing teams, driving growth and transforming companies. His experience across leading outdoor products companies, including Vista Outdoor, makes him the perfect leader for Solo Brands’ future. Our board is confident that Chris is the right person to grow shareholder value.”

Mr. Metz has more than 25 years of experience leading consumer and durable goods companies and has compiled a proven track record at every level. He most recently was CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc. During his five and a half years at Vista, he strategically repositioned and transformed it into a leading outdoor products company. Under his leadership, Vista grew revenue and profits to historic highs, while deleveraging the company’s balance sheet through record cashflow generation. Mr. Metz drove the transformation of Vista through organic growth, direct to consumer initiatives, strategic acquisitions and astute capital deployment.

“I am honored to be appointed as Solo Brands’ next president and CEO,” said Mr. Metz. “Solo Brands is a unique business with strong brands that have tremendous potential and a long runway for growth. I look forward to leading the company in its next chapter.”

“I am excited to watch as Solo continues to grow under new leadership and feel confident I am leaving the company in great hands,” said Mr. Merris.

Related: Kirk Palmer and Associates Assists Vince Holding Corp. with CEO Search

Solo brands develops and produces lifestyle products. Through an omni-channel distribution model that leverages e-commerce, strategic wholesale relationships and physical retails stores, Solo Brands offers products through four lifestyle brands – Solo Stove, known for its firepits, stoves and accessories, Chubbies, a casual apparel and activewear brand, Oru Kayak, innovator of origami folding kayaks, ISLE, maker of inflatable and hard paddle boards and accessories, and Icy Breeze, manufacturer of portable air-conditioning cooler units.

Retail-Focused Recruiters

Since its founding in 1987, Kirk Palmer Associates has grown globally, helping retailers hire CEOs, presidents, and front-of-house executives spanning a wide array of marketing, merchandising, stores, sales, E-commerce, and digital leadership roles. Kirk Palmer Associates is made up of retail and fashion industry veterans. The firm’s partners have placed more than 1,000 CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, and other senior executives at over 200 retail and wholesale companies across all channels, sectors, and functional areas.

Ms. Stevens leads the West Coast executive search practice at Kirk Palmer Associates. She works at the intersection of founders and the investment community helping fast-growing brands hire the leadership talent they need to scale. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Stevens gained more than 15 years of marketing and digital strategy experience at companies including Apple, kate spade new york, and C. Wonder. Additionally, she is a consultative partner to businesses at every stage of growth and provides guidance on organizational design, talent assessment, and executive compensation.

Ms. Basto is a search manager at Kirk Palmer Associates. She support teams in delivering a white-glove executive search experience, working to ensure clients and candidates feel prioritized and valued. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Basto gained industry exposure in roles at Newell Brand, Adicora Swimwear and Amazon, where she worked as a fashion specialist.

Related: Kirk Palmer Associates Assists Ashley Stewart in Finding New CEO

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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