Otterbox founder moves out of CEO role, to become chairman

OtterBox announced Friday that founder Curt Richardson is moving into a new role as chairman and that President Brian Thomas will assume the CEO’s job.

“There’s always been a lot of change at OtterBox, and there always will be,” Richardson said in a statement. “Probably the person who has seen the most change has been me. The best part about being the owner is that you get to change your own role.
Richardson founded OtterBox in 1998 after developing the original product line in his Fort Collins garage. Thomas joined OtterBox in 2002 when the company’s annual revenue reached $2 million.

At the time, OtterBox was focused on water- and crush-proof dry boxes, popular among water-sports athletes. He helped the company evolve from a producer of generic dry boxes to device-specific protection products: first for personal digital assistants, then the current lineup of smartphone and tablet cases.

He also spearheaded OtterBox’s global expansion, which included offices in Cork, Ireland, and Hong Kong.

“Curt has mentored me for 10 years to get to the place that I am now,” Thomas said in a statement from the company. “We will continue to work together.”

“I will do everything I can to make this company grow and succeed in the vision and footsteps that Curt has laid out,” he added.

Thomas spent the last decade in various roles at OtterBox including sales manager, sales and marketing director, chief operating officer and president.

The transition “has been a long time in the making” and the announcement was “largely just a change in titles that reflects the current roles” of both Richardson and Thomas, according to the company.

The company also announced Pete Lindgren as its chief operating officer.

Lindgren has worked in the electronics manufacturing services industry since 1985. He has held management positions in international operations, sales and marketing, program management and materials with SCI Systems, MTI International and, most recently, Celestica.

Otterbox reported $350 million in revenue in 2011, a 106-percent increase from the $170 million it posted the year before.

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