Skullcandy CEO Jeremy Andrus is stepping down after eight years at the headphone maker. He had led the company to its big $550 million IPO in 2011.
Why the move?
Andrus is joining Solamere Capital, a private investment firm that has close connections to the Romney clan, Tom Gara at The Wall Street Journal reported.
The firm’s founders are Mitt Romney’s son Tagg and Spencer Zwick, who was the finance chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Mitt himself initially seeded the firm with $10 million.
Andrus himself has close ties to the Romneys. He supported Mitt in his presidential bid, and his father, Brent, roomed with Mitt in France when they were Mormon missionaries, according to USA Today.
“I’m very familiar with them as a family, and with Mitt’s accomplishments in business,” Andrus told The WSJ.
“Jeremy has demonstrated a remarkable ability to lead the growth of a small business into a large, highly-profitable company,” said Tagg in a statement. “We plan to partner with the objective of finding private investments that fit his operating background and talents.”
What exactly does Solamere do?
“Unlike most private equity firms dedicated to analysing and buying companies, Solamere specialises in something else: billing itself as a ‘fund of funds’ with ‘unparalleled networks,’ it provides investors with ‘unique access’ to an elite set of other private equity firms and hedge funds,” explained Lee Fang at The Nation.
At Solamere, Andrus will be “entrepreneur in residence” and will help “find and manage investment opportunities” as the firm looks for small businesses ($5-$25 million in earnings) to invest in, according to the WSJ.
As for Skullcandy, founder and former CEO Rick Alden temporarily will look after the company until a permanent successor can be found. Andrus will stay on as a a consultant for the next year.
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