Zappos today begins a fresh chapter under a new top leader.
Following Tony Hsieh’s move to step down as CEO after 21 years, Kedar Deshpande has taken the reins at the Amazon-owned company. Importantly, Deshpande — who joined Zappos in 2011 — understands the unique corporate culture and company values that Zappos is well known for. He will lead Zappos as the retailer continues to expand beyond its footwear roots and competes in a digital space that is more competitive than ever before.
Like many employees at Zappos, Deshpande has steadily risen through the ranks during his nine years at the company.
Deshpande has held eight different roles, including portfolio manager, product manager, senior manager of marketing, director of marketing and product management, GM of ecommerce technology and marketing, VP of technology and marketing and COO. (He was elevated to the COO role about a year ago.)
Last year, Deshpande was instrumental in opening an office in Los Angeles characterized as a creation studio. The team there is tasked with developing content across multiple platforms, but with a particular focus on engaging consumers on social media. “We put in a dedicated social team in L.A., and the reason they are based there is because that’s the audience [we want to reach],” said Deshpande in a 2019 FN interview.
The new CEO, who has also worked at General Electric and PepsiCo, told employees about Hsieh’s departure in an email late yesterday.
“I’m reaching out to share that Tony has decided to retire as CEO of Zappos. We want to thank Tony for his 20 years of work on behalf of Zappos customers and employees and wish him well in his next chapter,” Deshpande wrote in the email. “Effective today, I will be assuming the role of CEO and will be working to make this a seamless transition. As always, we are focused on wowing customers and the 10 core values that drive us every day.”