Zappos CEO Scott Schaefer takes office permanently

Scott Schaefer, interim CEO of Zappos.com, has assumed the role permanently, company officials said Wednesday.

His official appointment takes effect immediately.

Schaefer, who has temporarily served as the Las Vegas-based e-commerce company’s executive since December, has worked at Zappos since 2008 and served as vice president of finance after serving in several financial, operational and strategic roles at of the society.

Prior to joining Zappos, Schaefer held finance-related roles at Davenport Wealth Management and Ernst & Young.

“I am thrilled and honored to continue my journey at Zappos as Chief Executive Officer,” Schaefer said in a statement. “My genuine passion and deep understanding of our business allows me to get off to a quick start in creating an unparalleled experience for our brand partners, surprising and delighting our customers, continuing our long history of leadership with compassion and, in as a financier at heart, to strengthen the financial situation of our company.

As CEO, Schaefer will oversee the culture-focused company, formerly overseen by entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, which has more than 1,400 employees across the United States.

Schaefer has already implemented his leadership vision, rooted in “experience, efficiency, energy and each other”, a nod to Zappos’ famous corporate culture of customer service, built around 10 core values.

Specializing in the sale of shoes and clothing, Zappos has become known for its 365-day return policy, free shipping and 24/7 customer service.

In 1998, when Hsieh was just 24, he sold online marketing company LinkExchange to Microsoft Corp. for $265 million in stock. Nick Swinmurn launched Zappos in 1999 – it was originally ShoeSite.com – and Hsieh quickly invested in the startup.

He and Swinmurn ran the company together for a time, and in 2004 Zappos moved from San Francisco to Henderson to better expand its customer service operations.

In 2009, then-big boss Hsieh sold Zappos to e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. in a deal valued at around $1.2 billion.

Hsieh, who remained the company’s top executive, moved Zappos from a suburban Henderson office park to the 11-story Old Las Vegas City Hall in 2013. He also started a side company, then called the Downtown Project, in 2012 to invest $350 million in real estate, restaurants, tech startups and other businesses in the Fremont Street area.

Hsieh retired from Zappos and was replaced as chief executive in August 2020 without an official announcement from the company he had run for two decades, after going on a house-buying spree in the resort of skiing in Park City, Utah.

Hsieh died in November 2020 after being seriously injured in a house fire in New London, Connecticut, where he was visiting his brother.

Wall Street Journal reporters Kirsten Grind and Katherine Sayre recently published a book about Hsieh’s pursuit of happiness and his untimely death.

The book, “Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh,” was released March 15.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. To follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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