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Zappos acting CEO Scott Schaefer gets official nod as top executive

Scott Schaefer, the acting CEO of Zappos.com, has taken the position permanently, company officials announced Wednesday.

His official appointment is effective immediately.

Schaefer, who has temporarily held the top position of the Las Vegas-based e-commerce company since December, has been with Zappos since 2008 and served as vice president of finance after working in several financial, operational and strategic positions with the company.

Before 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 release. “My genuine passion for and deep understanding of our business allows me to get a quick start in creating an unmatched experience for our brand partners, surprising and delighting our customers, continuing our long history of leading compassionately and, as a financier at heart, strengthening our business’s financial position.”

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

Schaefer already has implemented his leadership vision, anchored in “Experience, Efficiencies, Energy and Each Other, a nod to Zappos’ famed company culture of customer service, built around 10 core values.

Specializing in shoes and clothing sales, Zappos became known for its 365-day return policy, free shipping and 24/7 customer service.

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

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

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

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

Hsieh retired from Zappos and was replaced as its chief executive in August 2020 without a formal announcement from the company he had led for two decades, after he embarked on a home-buying binge in the ski resort town of Park City, Utah.

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

Wall Street Journal reporters Kirsten Grind and Katherine Sayre recently published a book about Hsieh’s quest for 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. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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