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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 5 years ago

Logistical shuffle in CEO suite

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Eric Baird, the Business Observer's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year, has taken a less active role in day-to-day operations of the fast-growing package forwarding company he founded.

Eric Baird, the Business Observer's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year, has taken a less active role in day-to-day operations of the fast-growing package forwarding company he founded, MyUS.com.

Baird will retain a seat on the firm's board of directors, says an official at the company, which reported $65 million in 2012 sales. That official, Sandy Smith with Ponte Vedra Beach-based Logisticap Partners, which assisted MyUS.com on a private equity deal last year, adds that Baird was “instrumental” in hiring the CEO who replaced him. That CEO is Sunil Bhatt, who previously held executive sales and marketing positions with Expedia and Hotels.com, among other firms.

“We all have a great deal of respect for everything Eric has done,” Smith tells Coffee Talk. “Eric has chosen to not be there on a day-to-day basis. He sold part of the company, but he's still involved in it. He's still a very large investor.”

Smith says Baird also wanted to step back following the death of his mother, Gail Baird, who died March 25. Eric Baird didn't return several messages for comment on his Facebook page or through text messages. Baird left the CEO role, Smith says, about two months ago. His personal Facebook page now lists “trying retirement” under work.

Baird, 44, leaves a flourishing day-to-day business for Bhatt, at least in terms of sales. The firm, which Baird founded in 1997 in a 700-square-foot office in a rundown strip mall, sells post office boxes to Americans living overseas. Baird, in a 2009 Business Observer story, says the business is like a Mail Boxes Etc., only one that ships to overseas customers who can't otherwise get certain American products and goods.

The simple idea spawned a business, now with 140 employees, that grew 1,200% over the last decade, from $5 million in 2004 revenues to $65 million last year.

The business and success also attracted private equity firms. One of those, West Palm Beach-based Palm Beach Capital, made a “substantial investment” in MyUS.com in September 2012, according to a press release. Smith, who says her firm helped connect Palm Beach Capital with Baird, declined to say who the majority owner of MyUS.com is. She says the private equity firm's stake is large, and, like Baird, that firm helped find the new CEO. One key in hiring Bhatt, adds Smith, is his e-commerce experience complements the firm's logistics knowledge.

“We felt what we needed is e-commerce experience,” says Smith. “And that's what Sunil brings to the table.”

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