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A sold-out house of more than 180 turned out Friday at The Shorebreak Hotel to hear Hurley Founder Bob Hurley and CEO Roger Wyett talk candidly about Hurley’s business, company strategies and future plans during the Shop-eat-surf Executive Roundtable.
The two answered questions for more than an hour about a wide range of topics, including how Hurley has managed to grow while other companies were shrinking during the recession, what it plans to do with its Phantom patent, where the company plans to focus international growth, and if Hurley plans to counter Billabong’s retail moves.
I don’t plan to give a blow-by-blow account of the conversation here, but a few themes emerged. CEO Roger Wyett fervently believes in focusing on a few big things, and doing those things very, very well.
Roger does not come from the industry. He said his role is to play Forest Gump, and constantly ask why the industry – and Hurley – does things they way they do. One of his common refrains is “Is that really the best we can do?”
Questioning the norm is what led to Hurley remaking and elevating the U.S. Open to new heights the past two years.
On the retail front, the company does not plan to make a major move, but both Roger and Bob said they believe in multi-brand formats with existing retailers, and pointed to their partnerships with HSS, Surfside Sports, Hobie and others as examples.
When I asked Roger to respond to critics who say Hurley is using Nike money to buy the market share, Roger replied that there is no free lunch at Nike. Hurley is profitable and spends a fraction of what other industry brands do on marketing, he said. The company just spends its money very strategically - on fewer, yet bigger things.
We’ll have a few video highlights from the talk in a few days. In the meantime, check out our slideshow above.
The SES Executive Roundtable was sponsored by Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Luce Forward, Moss Adams, Innovative Systems/Full Circle, CPI Resources, and The Shorebreak Hotel.