Outdoorsy, the world's largest on-demand marketplace for online RV rentals, hired Michael Dougherty as its CFO-COO, the company announced last week.
Dougherty joined Austin, Texas-based Outdoorsy on Jan. 1 from iHeartMedia, where he was the co-founder and CEO of digital ad platform, Jelli.
"Mike will undoubtedly make an impact as a financial and operational leader, accelerating the growth of our business globally," co-founder and CEO Jeff Cavins said in a statement. "I am particularly impressed with Mike's approach to leadership when it comes to the strategic and operational requirements of a CFO and COO, as well as his ability to navigate and lead transformational growth."
In the combined role, Dougherty will lead all of Outdoorsy's financial operations, corporate and strategic development, and operating functions, the release said, and he will report directly to Cavins.
Dougherty opted to switch industries despite the continued economic uncertainty because "it's just an amazing time to rethink travel," he told CFO Dive in an interview. "All of us have seen, over the last decade, our value shift from seeking material goods to now wanting experiences; the pandemic has only deepened that."
His turn as CFO-COO will be his first, and he said the standalone COO role is going out of style. "Successful companies have demonstrated that organizational health and financial health are two sides of the same coin," he said. "At any company, the COO and CFO roles are very connected."
While the CFO, historically, is focused on revenue, the role also focuses on the development, planning and processes for measuring growth, he said, pointing out that his most recent employer, iHeartMedia, had a CFO-COO. "I'm excited to take on both sides."
At Outdoorsy, he said, his job will be growing the company, not just the revenue. While that can often be achieved through M&A, he said Outdoorsy isn't necessarily focused there.
"We're building a significantly strong consumer brand within our network marketplace that grows organically," he said. "But the outdoors is such a significant $1 trillion market that there may be some M&A opportunities down the road."
Dougherty's initial focus is on handling scale. The busy season for the RV and outdoor activity business, which is booming amid the pandemic, starts during late spring, he said.
"Our deep focus has been on preparing the organization for that significant growth in 2021," he said. "We had massive growth in 2020, and we're building up to be largest platform in the outdoor space."
He and Cavins feel that somewhere along that path, an opportunity to go public will likely arise.
"[Cavins] is very comfortable managing public companies, and I've had experience with him at some of them, and I'm excited if we go down that path," Dougherty said. "We're always evaluating, but have nothing to announce at this stage."
Dougherty brings over 25 years of financial leadership, including expertise in corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, mergers and acquisitions, strategic leadership and risk management.
Just prior to joining Outdoorsy, Dougherty spent over ten years at iHeartMedia subsidiary Jelli. The company, which he co-founded, is the largest cloud-based technology platform for the $40 billion global audio advertising market.
Before founding Jelli, Dougherty led business development, corporate development, and M&A at Tellme, another voice application platform which Microsoft acquired in 2007 for over $800 million.
Prior to Tellme, Dougherty led corporate development and M&A and capital markets at Loudeye, a digital media distribution and licensing platform acquired by Nokia in 2006.
In his early career, Dougherty spent seven years on Wall Street as Vice President of Investment Banking at Chase H&Q, where he managed teams specializing in leveraged finance and emerging technology growth and build-out financings, closing $11.2 billion in financings during his investment banking career, according to Outdoorsy's release.