Former Eddie Bauer chief executive officer Damian Huang has touched down at Cotopaxi as the brand’s first president.
Huang exited the Bellevue, Washington-based Eddie Bauer on May 13 after a 12-year run, as reported.
The Salt Lake City-based Cotopaxi is an outdoor apparel, accessories and gear brand and certified B Corp. In this new position, Huang will report to CEO and founder Davis Smith.
In September of 2021, Cotopaxi secured $45 million in funding from Bain Capital Double Impact and is expanding its executive team to fuel future growth. Other new appointments include Marissa Magno, who was named vice president of people and inclusion.
Huang has a long history in the outdoor industry. In addition to Eddie Bauer, he has also worked as vice president of design and merchandising for Patagonia and spent nearly a decade at The North Face. During his time at Eddie Bauer, Huang is credited with rebuilding and repositioning the brand to zero in on its outdoors roots, while also establishing a sustainability roadmap, launching and growing the First Ascent line and transitioning the company to more of a digitally driven business. He also helped steer the company through its acquisition by Authentic Brands Group in May of 2021.
At Cotopaxi, Huang will focus on brand development and the elevation of consciously designed and manufactured products.
“To say I’m excited to join Cotopaxi would be an understatement,” Huang said. “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 its growth, which has seen the brand nearly double its sales every year since its founding in 2014. Smith personally vetted over 1,000 applicants before settling on Huang.
He said that finding a leader who understood the company’s mission was paramount. The outdoor apparel and accessories brand’s mission since its founding is to create sustainably designed outdoor products that advance education, health and livelihoods around the world. In 2021 alone, Cotopaxi assisted nearly 1.3 million people living in poverty.
Cotopaxi is named for a mountain in Ecuador where Smith spent a lot of time in his youth. It started out as a colorful backpack brand, but has since branched out into apparel and other complementary products. Early in its life, Cotopaxi attracted some other high-profile investors including Toms founder Blake Mycoskie through his Toms Social Entrepreneurship Fund, as well as Neil Blumenthal, Smith’s former classmate from the Wharton School and the cofounder of Warby Parker and Harry’s.
“We are elated to name Damien to our team,” Smith said. “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. 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 headquartered in Seattle.