Outdoor gear brand, and certified B Corporation, Cotopaxi is honored to announce the appointment of its first ever President, Damien Huang, reporting to and working alongside CEO and Founder Davis Smith. On the heels of Cotopaxi’s recent announcement of Marissa Magno as VP of People & Inclusion, this new executive position was created in order to assist in elevating and directing the benefit corporation and outdoor lifestyle gear and apparel brand to even greater heights and industry benchmarks in impactful brand development.
Huang joins Cotopaxi from his most recent role as CEO of the storied outdoor brand, Eddie Bauer, having held previous positions at Patagonia as VP of Design and Merchandising, and almost a decade at The North Face in product focused roles. In his position at Eddie Bauer, Huang rebuilt and repositioned the brand as defined by accessibility in the outdoors, established a sustainability roadmap, launched and grew the First Ascent line through innovative design, helping the brand win more than 50 industry awards. He simultaneously led the company through a merger, acquisition, and then the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as guiding the transition from a catalog retailer to a digitally-driven business with deep omnichannel integration.
At Cotopaxi, Huang’s new position at the eight-year-old impact-driven lifestyle brand reports directly to the company’s Founder/CEO, Davis Smith, and will help drive strategy, operations, and execution across the C-suite and organization. The position is focused on brand development, impact giving through strategic brand focuses, and elevating consciously designed and manufactured products as part of Cotopaxi’s global impact mission.
“To say I’m excited to join Cotopaxi would be an understatement”, says Huang. “Every once in a while a company comes along that is not only new and different, but has an energy, a soul, and a purpose that makes an organization remarkable. I’m deeply inspired by what Davis and the team have built, impressed by the leaders at Bain Capital Double Impact, and honored to help push the company forward”
Cotopaxi announced the intention to search for a President in December 2021, as a result of the brand’s astronomical growth and having nearly doubled its revenue every year since its founding year of 2014. Smith, unique in his position as an employee-centric leader, has led the charge for the search and hiring process, personally reading and vetting over one-thousand applications, spearheading the interview process, and choosing the successful candidate, Damien Huang.
Cotopaxi CEO and Founder, Davis Smith, says that finding a leader who deeply understood their social mission was essential to finding the right fit. Cotopaxi assisted nearly 1.3 million people living in poverty in 2021 and has deep roots in Latin America, where Smith grew up and lived much of his adult life. Damien previously lived in Ecuador, home of the iconic Cotopaxi volcano, during a college study abroad program and with immigrant parents, deeply resonated with the mission of the brand. “We are elated to name Damien to our team. He’s an incredibly talented individual with an authentic passion for our mission to fight extreme poverty. His position as President is integral to the next stage of growth for Cotopaxi,” says Smith. “Cotopaxi has always been first and foremost about people, and Damien’s diverse experience in both business and leadership are skills that we trust he will deftly apply at Cotopaxi.”
Huang will be based out of Seattle, making frequent trips to Salt Lake City, UT, where Cotopaxi is based, but is part of the new remote-first structure that the employee-first company implemented during 2020. Huang enjoys being a dad to two teenage boys, is an avid outdoor enthusiast, pursuing fly fishing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, basketball, playing guitar and exploring new places.