Prana names Scott Kerslake as CEO

Scott Kerslake has been named Prana’s new CEO, effective immediately, succeeding Beaver Theodosakis, the company’s founder and current CEO. SNEWS talked exclusively to Beaver to get the inside story.
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Scott Kerslake has been named Prana’s new CEO, effective immediately, succeeding Beaver Theodosakis, the company’s founder and current CEO. Theodosakis will remain on the board of directors and continue in an ambassador role focused on sustainable business growth and developing relationships with business partners.

It is perhaps symbolic that Prana’s leadership is evolving from a man whose hair is both notable and recognizable, to one who prefers a more polished look. Since launching Prana in 1993, Beaver and his wife, Pam, have practiced what Theodosakis terms “a little more haphazard business structure.”

That style worked very well when the company was smaller and growing, but Theodosakis readily admitted to SNEWS®, “Pam and I were able to take Prana to a certain point that was very successful, but some of the wheels were certainly wobbling.”

Kerslake arrived on the scene 18 months ago as president (click here to read the July 2009 SNEWS story, “Prana adds to leadership team amid best spring sales ever” ) with a pedigree as the founder and former president of Athleta.

Theodosakis told us Kerslake has a more systematic and polished approach to business. He has been working tirelessly on creating systems and infrastructure supported by a team of people, resources and initiatives to ensure product quality, Theodosakis noted. He added that Kerslake has also been hard at work to ensure the company culture is more closely connected physically, so there are less silos and more collaboration.

In an email to company staff on Dec. 1, Theodosakis told the Prana team, “Scott Kerslake and I have known each other for over 10 years and have worked side by side since spring of last year. I have learned a lot and realized that Prana need not have a CEO with a wild mane but one with a warm heart, incredible smarts, strong spirit and the highest integrity. Scott is the ideal person to lead the company.”

When asked what Kerslake has been responsible for initiating in the last 12 months, Theodosakis said, “He’s led the introduction of a new line of outerwear, launched a catalog and improved the e-commerce website, and instituted improvements in productivity and delivery that retailers and customers have certainly noticed.”

Launching the catalog and improved website was more about helping Prana communicate its brand message and story to a much broader audience than about simply launching these products into the marketplace, he said.

“We needed to be able to communicate our message to the main consumer more effectively than we could previously,” Theodosakis said. “Until Scott implemented this program, we had to rely on customers learning about who we were and our products from a four-way hung with our clothing in a retail shop, topped by some POP displays if we were really lucky.”

By all accounts, Kerslake has impressed. Theodosakis told us that when the board members at Steelpoint Capital Partners, Prana’s majority investor, met with him earlier this month, they had report cards covering categories like cultural fit, business planning, financial acumen, hunger, vision, etc. Kerslake was awarded 8’s, 9’s and 10’s across the board.

“We knew then, when we compared all of our report cards on Scott, that we had the absolutely best person for this job,” Theodosakis said.

“This is a very exciting time to be leading a special business like Prana,” Kerslake said. “Over the last 18 months, I have enjoyed working closely with Beaver and Pam, and the amazing team at Prana. We’ve had great performance over the last year and are looking forward to building on that momentum in the years to come.”

From haphazard hair to polished dome, while the head of Prana has changed, its heart remains the same -- albeit perhaps now beating with more strength. “After 18 years of tireless effort, Pam and I can breathe easy knowing that Scott, and the passionate team at Prana, will mindfully guide our company to realize its full potential,” added Theodosakis.

--Michael Hodgson

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