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Honest Co Hires Former Amazon Exec to Boosts its Ecommerce Bona Fides

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The Honest Company has named former Amazon executive Pete Gerstberger as Chief Digital and Strategy Officer, effective Oct. 4, 2021. Gerstberger will drive the company’s omnichannel strategy through the use of the Honest Omni-Analytics insight platform, helping the brand improve its digital capabilities.

In his new role, Gerstberger will draw on his the experience with digital strategy and product development, earned during the more than 18 years he spent at both Amazon and Ring. As the head of Amazon Key, he was responsible for restructuring and scaling the in-garage delivery service to more than 50 million Amazon Prime customers, enabling contactless deliveries inside customers’ homes. Prior to that, he served as VP and General Manager at Ring where he led the development, launch and management of Ring’s home security system, Ring Alarm.

“Pete’s extensive experience across the digital, tech and product development disciplines makes him an invaluable addition to the team as we continue to strengthen our omnichannel strategy,” said Nick Vlahos, CEO of The Honest Company in a statement. “At Honest, we’re committed to expanding our reach as the modern CPG company and our digital strategy is an integral part of how we do that.”

Gerstberger is the second veteran executive The Honest Company has brought in this year. Kelly Kennedy, who held the CFO role at both Sur La Table and organic food brand Annie’s, came onboard as CFO in February 2021. The company went on to file for an IPO in April 2021.

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The DTC-focused conscious retailer has faced headwinds since then. The company debuted at $16 per share in May 2021 and jumped to $23 the next day, but fell to $13 per share by August and bounced between $10 and $11 during the first two weeks of September.

The Honest Company’s emphasis on “conscious consumerism” may resonate with today’s shoppers, but the retailer has three challenges in its way:

  • The Honest Company has never turned a profit and warned that it “may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future” when it filed for its IPO. Investors may forgive brands with strong growth, but The Honest Company posted a mild 3% revenue increase to $74.58 million in Q2 2021, missing the analyst consensus of $79.52 million, according to Business Insider;
  • The lingering impact of multiple class-action lawsuits and product recalls. These events are often due to circumstances outside of a retailer’s control, but The Honest Company’s reputation-focused, health-first branding means they hit hard and the effects are lingering; and
  • There is growing competition in the socially and environmentally conscious consumer space. Major CPG manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson have released their own competing brands, and retailers in other spaces have launched their own sustainability initiatives, such as ASOS tying executive pay to its ESG goals.

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