Corner Office Shifts: Endy CEO parts ways with company he co-founded

Plus, Saje appoints new president as Reitmans eliminates one amid restructuring.
Corner Office, Boardroom, Drew Beamer, Unsplash

Endy co-founder and CEO steps down 

Mike Gettis, who co-founded DTC mattress brand Endy with Rajen Ruparell in 2015, has left the company to pursue new undisclosed opportunities. His last day was July 22.

“It’s been an incredible journey selling pillows from my home office in 2011 to starting Endy in 2015,” he wrote in a social post on Aug. 5. “This year we’re on track to hit a milestone in revenue that is very dear to my heart.”

A company spokesperson was unable to share specifics about the revenue target (as Endy is part of publicly traded company), but said that Ruparell, Endy’s executive chairman, will lead the company alongside CFO Alexandra Voyevodina and the rest of the leadership team.

Endy was acquired by mattress retailer Sleep Country Canada in 2018. By 2019, the company had grown into a $50 million business and had expanded into physical retail.

Saje Natural Wellness shuffles leadership, dissolving chief brand officer role

For the first time since its founding nearly 30 years ago, Saje Natural Wellness will be led by someone other than co-founders Kate Ross LeBlanc and Jean-Pierre LeBlanc.

On July 22, the Vancouver-born wellness brand announced having picked Kathy Chi Thurber, a former L’Oreal exec, to be president as the husband and wife co-founders and co-CEOs become members of the board.

The appointment follows a corporate takeover of Saje by Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm L Catterton, according to a report in B.C. Business. A source told the publication that the takeover resulted in the departure of Jean-Pierre and Kate, along with their daughter and chief innovation and brand officer Kiara Leblanc, in February.

A company spokesperson confirmed that Kiara is no longer with the organization, that the role no longer exists, and that Michael Vineberg (an executive reportedly associated with L Catterton) took leadership of the brand as interim CEO in February. The spokesperson also redirected questions surrounding the takeover to a company press release.

In the release, Saje founder Kate Ross LeBlanc said the company began working with L Catterton in August 2016 in order to continue expanding its footprint in the U.S.

“Business was growing rapidly and we knew that we were reaching a point in the Saje story where it was time to expand beyond our original entrepreneurial roots,” she said. “L Catterton had experience driving the growth of a diverse group of consumer brands into the U.S. and internationally.”

Saje’s marketing team is now led by VP Janelle Shiplett, who has been leading the company’s marketing and digital teams since June 2019.

Reitmans eliminates RW&CO president role

The Montreal-based fashion retailer has consolidated its leadership team, resulting in the departure of RW&CO president Lora Tisi on Aug 6.

With her departure, Michael Strachan, formerly president of Addition Elle and Penningtons, has assumed the role of president of RW&CO and Penningtons. Jackie Tardif, meanwhile, maintains her position as president of Reitmans.

The leadership change follows Reitmans’ decision to file for creditor protection in May. The retailer is one of many whose pre-existing financial struggles reached a tipping point due to public health measures enacted in response to COVID-19.

The company previously announced the closure of its Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle brands, saying it would “build its future” with only the Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&CO banners. It closed its 54 Thyme Maternity locations on July 18, with the remaining 74 Addition Elle locations to follow on Aug. 15.

A creditor update filed on July 24 states approximately 815 employees have been terminated since May as part of the ongoing restructuring process being overseen by accounting firm EY. Between May 17 and July 11, Reitmans reported more than $151.77 million in revenue (which included $800,000 in government subsidies), 56% more than it had forecasted for the period.