Supreme New York is looking for some extra financial know-how to help take the hip skate brand to the next level.
Multiple sources said the company is pounding the pavement to find an experienced chief financial officer in the wake of private equity giant Carlyle’s $500 million investment in July, which valued the firm at $1 billion.
Carlyle and Goode Partners, which sold at least a part of its stake to Carlyle, are said to be driving the process. Handling it is said to be executive search firm The Corrigan Group, which is looking for a cfo who knows their way around a public company’s books.
Supreme founder James Jebbia is known for hiring from within a close-knit skate community, which gave the brand its start and now lends it the credibility link with the luxury world. But to continue to develop the company it would help to have a strong hand on the financial controls.
The famously tight-lipped Supreme as well as and Corrigan did not respond to WWD queries on Wednesday and Carlyle declined to comment, but the addition of some financial muscle often follows a big investment.
As outsider as Supreme’s image is — for years, the brand has courted cool with scarcity and never seems to make enough product to come anywhere near to satisfying rabid demand — observers believe the company will have to ultimately change as it continues to grow.
And that typically means bringing more traditional oversight and financial controls to a business that has grown rapidly and organically. For Carlyle to make its exit, it’s likely the company would have to be sold to a strategic or financial player or that it would be sold on the open market through an initial public offering.
“Undoubtedly in connection with the investment, Carlyle more than kicked the tires and did both a legal and financial audit,” said attorney Douglas Hand of Hand Baldachin Amburgey. “So if there are any skeletons in the closet, so to speak, or lingering liabilities that would be problematic in the context of an IPO, they’ll clean those up.”
While tightening up the financial structure could require expertise from beyond the company’s skate core, more buttoned-up types can work culturally for even the hippest of companies.
“With lots of brands, what they care about the most internally is that people are themselves,” Hand said. “I don’t know if the cfo of Supreme has to be able to skate a half-pipe to be effective, they just have to be comfortable in their own skin.”
Cfos and a robust financial reporting system can also be helpful for investors wanting to protect their investment.
“For private equity, the hiring of the cfo to watch their money is very important,” said Les Berglass, ceo and founder of Berglass + Associates.
There are, however, plenty of eyes already on the investment at Supreme.
One source said Keith Miller, a partner at Goode, remains on the company’s board.
Miller has gotten kudos from his investment peers for helping guide Supreme — and for making a rich return on the investment.
The source said the game plan includes geographic expansion as well as more collaborations (The Louis Vuitton collaboration this summer is said to have produced 100 million euros in business and helped position the company for its sale).