Sally McCoy, co-founder of Silver Steep Partners, will take over as president and CEO of Camelbak, replacing J. Marty ODonohue who was appointed to the role in January of this year. McCoy has been working as a strategic advisor for Camelbak for the past year and is also a member of the board. She also has over 20 years of experience, including president of Sierra Designs and Ultimate Direction.
“The opportunity with Camelbak is that it is a great brand and there is the chance for it to become an expansive business far beyond just basic hands-free hydration,” McCoy told BOSS. “Youve got to love a brand that created a category, and Camelbak certainly did that. They created it with the government and military areas, they created it in the recreation side, and I think Camelbak is already a great company, but it could become really a creative driver in the industry.”
McCoy sees Camelbak as a company that has been defining itself too narrowly and she will be working to change that going forward. “I think there will be more acquisitions on the military side we are basically saying Camelbak is hydration and essential gear. What I do not see is that Camelbak will not become a holding company, but there are reasons for acquisitions for product, etc.”
While Camelbak has dominated the hands-free hydration market since its inception, McCoy still sees some challenges ahead. First of all, the company has such a large market share in hydration systems that its only choice for growth in the category is to grow the overall size of the market and expand its user-base. Also, focusing on the fundamentals and overall efficiency is an on-going challenge for any company.
“In terms of challenges, anytime a company has growth and multiple businesses, there is always getting the structure and team and supply chain in place, you know it never ends for any company,” McCoy said. “So, I think that getting all of those aspects coordinated, getting really focused on the product development, is my most important focus.”
As part of her transition to Camelbak, McCoy will be giving up her operational duties at Silver Steep Partners and the investment advisory company will form a new board of advisors. Jack Gilbert, founder and former CEO of Mountain Hardwear; Peter Metcalf, founder and current CEO of Black Diamond Equipment; and Dan Blatt, VP of business development for Capital Guidance, a private equity firm in Paris and D.C.
“Meanwhile with Silver Steep, I suspect we will announce two deals before the end of the year and a third before the OR show. So, I am very proud of where Silver Steep is and its actually ahead of my forecast. I feel like the need for Silver Steep Partners is there and its very important that it continue. So what Nate Pund and I did was try and figure out how I can take this role and help Silver Steep continue I feel good that we have combined New York financial expertise with an outdoor industry orientation, membership, and responsibility.”
“While Sally will not play her day-to-day role at Silver Steep, she will still be a vital part of the company,” said Nathan Pund, co-founder of Silver Steep. “When I founded this firm with Sally, I really envisioned Silver Steep being an investment bank to the industry and ultimately moving to add on a private equity function and become a direct investor in businesses. I wanted to be able to capture the wisdom, the knowledge, and the mistakes people had made over the last 20 years so that the people we work with can benefit from that perspective.”
Editors note: Go to The BOSS Report Blog to listen to Nathan Punds view of the deal market in the outdoor industry today…