Thrive Global has a new executive to aid in its nonstop expansion.
Arianna Huffington just hired Frank Ricciardi as the first chief customer officer for Thrive Global, the media entrepreneur’s growing tech-meets-wellness site and corporate product aimed at reducing work- and stress-related burnout. Ricciardi was most recently at Cornerstone OnDemand, a publicly traded software company that focuses on employee development and management programs for companies.
An expert in SaaS, or software as a service, Ricciardi said he’ll be looking to ensure Thrive’s product is being used effectively but also will be speaking to Thrive customers directly to get feedback for any changes or additions the products may need.
“One of the things we really need to focus on is how do we make sure these solutions are delivered to customers directly? Then how they’re adopted and how they’re sustained over time so clients become clients forever,” Ricciardi said.
“Really the holy grail is creating mutual value at every interaction,” he added. “Innovation is hearing what customers are saying, then funneling that into the product development cycle and iterating rapidly new features that make sense so people can thrive.”
Ricciardi was with Cornerstone for 13 years and saw the company through its initial public offering in 2011, making him the first and only member of Huffington’s c-suite to have been an executive at a publicly traded company and the only to have seen one through a listing. Huffington is nothing if not bullish on Thrive’s prospects, but even with Ricciardi’s IPO experience, a public offering is not in the company’s immediate future.
“We’re not thinking about it right now,” Huffington said, not ruling out anything in the future. “We are focused on growth…looking to expand the product and get it to new, larger partners and some smaller partners. With Frank here and his expertise, we’ll start working with medium and even some small companies.”
Until now, Thrive has only worked with major corporations to roll out its product of microstep guides and workshops focused on stress and burnout for employees of J.P. Morgan, Accenture, BlackRock, and the like. It’s also about to debut with two multinational companies, Verizon and Ernst & Young, fulfilling Huffington’s plans to work with global companies this year.
For the coming year, Huffington is still looking for aggressive growth, but she says Thrive’s ethos of taking time to recharge and regroup will keep the company itself from burning out. “Our speciality is breakneck growth, but we’ve seen a lot of companies get burned that way, WeWork, Uber before that. We basically want to live what we’re teaching.”
Still, Huffington alluded to 2020 being another big year for the company. With the recent acquisition of the artificial intelligence company Boundless Mind, she is looking to another tech acquisition or even two, to drive inorganic growth alongside the organic growth coming from the Thrive product. A team in San Fransisco is actively scouting deals and is engaged with a couple of companies in discussions.
“The acquisition of Boundless so dramatically accelerated our tech roadmap,” Huffington said. “The vision is for technology to be at the center of everything here, so the more tech companies we can acquire, the faster we can grow.”
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