NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Food52 Founder and CEO Amanda Hesser announced today the appointment of former West Elm President Alex Bellos as Co-CEO and Board Member of the cooking and home brand. Hesser and Bellos will build the business as Co-CEOs for six months, then Hesser will take on a new leadership role as Executive Chair and Bellos will continue as CEO of Food52. Over the coming months, Hesser and Bellos will continue transforming Food52 into a broader platform, building on the foundation of having Food52, Schoolhouse, and Dansk under one roof. In partnership with Hesser, Bellos will drive the company’s next phase of growth, expand reach and revenue, and help achieve Food52’s mission to be the next-generation home company bringing together soulful cooking and home brands and their communities.
Hesser established a new standard for both media and e-commerce when she started the community-centric site Food52 after 11 years at the New York Times. Since launching Food52 with Merrill Stubbs in her Brooklyn kitchen in 2009, Hesser has shaped the leading content and commerce brand into a broader platform of brands — that now includes Schoolhouse and Dansk. Each brand is built on a foundation of storytelling and a focus on life’s most important pleasures: food, home, and connection. Food52 now has 280 employees and a monthly audience of greater than 30 million people. The Chernin Group (TCG), known for its investments in culture-defining brands, made its initial majority investment in Food52 in 2019 and a second investment in 2021.
Bellos brings relevant experience from 14 years at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s West Elm and Rejuvenation, where he scaled e-commerce and retail business across home categories and around the world. He expanded Rejuvenation from a small, indie lighting company into a broader lifestyle brand and doubled West Elm’s revenue to more than $2B.
“Alex is the ideal leader to grow this business from the innovative model that Merrill Stubbs and I conceived over a decade ago,” Hesser said. “His tremendous record of leading fast-growing home brands and depth of experience in commerce will complement my expertise in brand, content, and creative. We’re going to do amazing things together.”
“I am so excited to partner with Amanda and the Food52, Schoolhouse, and Dansk teams to accelerate the company’s next phase of growth,” Bellos said. “The unique combination of content, community, and commerce that underpins their customer relationships is an incredible differentiator to power the next-generation home company. I can’t wait to build on that foundation together with Amanda and the team.”
As Executive Chair of Food52, Hesser will focus on evolving the company vision and strategy; innovating the company’s content and products; nurturing and building brand communities; and supporting growth through partnerships and acquisitions.
This announcement caps off a year in which Hesser laid the foundation for future growth and profitability, including the following:
- Food52 launches its own line of pantry ingredients, Food52 Pantry, on September 22. Led by the former head of grocery for Eataly, the team spent the last 18 months sourcing best-in-class ingredients — everything from pasta to harissa to baking chocolate.
- Since Food52 acquired Dansk, the heritage home brand is seeing triple-digit annual growth, and the first product reissue — a water pitcher — sold out in 24 hours, twice. Dansk has secured designer Thomas Bentzen for an entirely new Dansk product and will be reissuing Jens Quistgaard’s iconic peppermills in 2023.
- Schoolhouse will launch its fifth new product collection of the year on October 14 one that will mix their iconic products with new designs that expand its preexisting strengths in furniture, hardware, textiles, and, of course, lighting. The beloved brand is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023.
- Also in 2023, the Food52 team will move into its new 42,000 sqft. headquarters at Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The space has 6 kitchens and triples Food52’s current creative studio space.
Food52 is a next-generation cooking and home company, named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company, with a monthly reach of more than 30 million people. From the beginning, the brand challenged the models of traditional media and retailers, combining content, commerce, and community around the belief that the kitchen is the heart of the home and that food is the center of a well-lived life. Food52 connects a global community of experts and amateurs, supporting them with inspirational, useful content — recipes, videos, podcasts, cookbooks and more — and outfitting them with products that make them happy. In addition to a curated Shop that features hundreds of makers, the Food52 family of brands includes the lighting and lifestyle-goods company Schoolhouse and the heritage home brand Dansk.
Founded by Peter Chernin, Jesse Jacobs, and Mike Kerns, The Chernin Group (TCG) is a multi-stage investment firm dedicated to building consumer businesses. With a focus on majority and significant minority investments in growing consumer businesses, the TCG team has a track record of working with world-class consumer brands in digital media, commerce, marketplaces, sports, gaming, consumer finance, consumer blockchain and health and wellness brands and platforms. The TCG portfolio includes The Action Network, Collectors Universe, Crunchyroll, Dapper Labs, Epic Gardening, Exploding Kittens, Funko, Goldin Auctions, Headspace, Hodinkee, Lovevery, MeatEater, Opensea, Oura, Surfline, The Pro’s Closet and more. For more information visit tcg.co.
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