Sometimes, firms need to move people around in an effort to find the right fit. This sort of thing makes little to no difference at the bottom but becomes more critical as its implemented further up the chain of command with top level moves being highly sensitive.
With publicly traded companies, CEO transitions are carefully orchestrated and usually take a full year for seamless rotation to ensure stock values aren’t impacted. This is done to ensure the integrity of consumer trust is flawlessly upheld. CEO attrition can indicate to the market that there are problems with leadership and management, which can stimulate sell-off that negatively impacts stock values. Doing this correctly requires extreme care.
Shuffling around CEOs like entry level workers could only happen in private companies because they aren’t publicly traded. Public or private, however, employing more than one CEO in a single fiscal year can have a severe negative impact on a company’s brand image.
This brings us to Beckett; the company that produced the price guide many of us devoured growing up. The company has changed quite a bit since Dr. Beckett sold it back in 2005. The current company managers have made some imperfect decisions over the past year. Let’s take a look at the timeline of events:
June 2022: Kunal Chopra is hired as CEO
Chopra came from a tech background with essentially zero knowledge of the sports collectibles category. When hired, he made some pretty grandstanding claims about what he was going to do for the company, which included things like moving into web3, blockchain, data analytics, AI, automation, and NFTs. No, not improving its record terrible customer service but NFTs! Right. What any of this has to do with trading cards is anyone’s guess but it’s certainly proof that spouting off complex technical jargon helps land high paying jobs. What it doesn’t guarantee is job security. It’s like really nice wrapping paper over an empty box; it looks good but nothing’s in it. I’ve also heard from some collectors that he’d send out eNewsletters with language indicating the customer’s voice is important to him and encouraged anyone to contact him directly using his business email address only to ignore any messages sent to said email address. Bad hire? If you say yes, you’re likely in the majority. Nothing against Chopra; he just wasn’t a good fit.
July 2022: Beckett Promotes New Slab Design at The National
If you’re gonna promote a new slab design on multiple giant posters at the biggest card show in the country, you better be prepared to roll them out. If you’re not, you have an imperfect understanding of how branding works. On the same day images of said slabs were shared on Twitter with immediate severe market backlash, Beckett retracted the promotion. Talk about the year’s biggest back-peddle. This is an example of really bad optics and terrible brand management.
April 2023: Beckett Proposes Grading Scale Changes at the Mint Collective
Here we are again, promoting a massively sensitive change at a huge annual conference. Again, on the same day after immediate severe market backlash on Twitter, Beckett retracted the promotion. This is just another absurd back-peddle in just 9 months time, and another example of extremely bad optics and horrendous brand management.
May 2023: Kevin Isaacson is hired as CEO
Issaacson brings 25 years of industry experience, which includes media, manufacturing, and eCommerce. He’s also the creator of the Industry Summit, which has become one of the most important annual events for retailers, distributors, licensees, and licensors. Previously, he was CEO of Southern Hobby and led Beckett’s acquisition of the company.1
Beckett’s biggest problem is its lack of customer attentiveness. This has been well documented by comments on any of its Facebook page posts. Much if not most of the feedback from customers about things like lack of responsiveness via email to phone calls going to full voicemail boxes to just generally getting ignored by the company in turn goes goes ignored by Beckett. Great customer service is what sets companies apart from each other, not slabs, not flips, not grading scales, but customer service. Companies who do this right achieve customer loyalty. The reverse is also true. Hopefully, hiring the new CEO will translate to better customer service.
To view the current eBay auctions for BGS graded cards, click here.