Inside The Leadership Transition At ETS Express
After almost 35 years with the company, Sharon Eyal is stepping down from ETS Express (PPAI 135148, S11). His departure, set for later this year, is part of a planned transition following the Oxnard, California-based supplier’s acquisition by PCNA (PPAI 113079, S15) in 2019.
Eyal’s family has been in the glass and ceramics business for generations. His father founded ETS Express in 1985 and he joined in 1988.
When Eyal came onboard, ETS had five employees, three of which were members of his immediate family. He became the company’s CEO in 1994 and prior to the sale to PCNA, ETS had grown to more than 500 employees at its Southern California headquarters and Concord, North Carolina, fulfillment center.
Eyal led ETS through its 2018 trademark dispute with retailer S’well. The case, formally known as Can’t Live Without It, LLC dba S’well Bottle Company v. ETS Express, Inc., went to a jury trial in the Southern District of New York in March 2018. Following the nine-day trial, the jury ruled unanimously in ETS Express’ favor on all counts.
Speaking to PPB at the time, Eyal said, “For me, settling wasn’t an option. If we had settled, that would have given the green light for retailers and outsiders to come into our industry and claim something is theirs where it may not be.”
In the wake of his departure, Eyal intends to take six months off from working.
Following Eyal’s departure, Brandon Bell is stepping up to lead ETS as president going forward. He has been with the company for almost a dozen years, first coming onboard in 2010 as director of sales. Since March 2019, he has been the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“Sharon and his family have built an amazing company that values its customers and employees alike,” Bell says. “It is thrilling to be part of a team that is so passionate about what our company does. There is such a positive energy to build and continue the family values established over that last 37 years. I am grateful to be part of it.”
Backfilling Bell’s position at ETS as vice president of sales is Adam Stone, the company’s national account director. Stone has been with ETS since 2014 and before that, PCNA as a field sales manager. His background also includes several years with The Magnet Group in a sales role.
PCNA’s acquisition of ETS closed on November 29. It joined industry supplier brands Leed’s (PPAI 112361, S13), Bullet (PPAI 113079, S12), Journalbooks (PPAI 110769, S10) and Trimark (PPAI 198982, S10) under the company’s umbrella.
ETS, reportedly the largest supplier of promotional drinkware in North America at the time and a recognized leader in product design and innovative decoration, extended PCNA’s presence and leadership in the fast-growing drinkware category.
Following the acquisition, ETS continued to operate out of its Oxnard headquarters under the leadership of Eyal, who joined PCNA’s executive team. ETS operations, sales and marketing remained independent.