Chris Hickey: President & CEO of The Isopure Company

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Chris Hickey is President and CEO of The Isopure Company – a leading sports nutrition company doing business in over 40 countries. Chris is a driven, passionate, and results-focused leader who has consistently excelled building brands and businesses in a variety of corporate environments including Procter & Gamble, General Mills, MolsonCoors, Abbott Laboratories, and private equity-backed Athletes’ Performance, Inc (now EXOS). Chris was recruited to The Isopure Company in April 2013 to transition and grow the high-performance company from founder leadership and private equity ownership to scale and corporate ownership. In his time at The Isopure Company he has focused on building the Isopure brand via the “We’re All More Than Muscle” campaign, driving awareness through media partners like GQ, Men’s Health, and Shape, and extending the franchise with category-expanding innovations like Cocotein (the first protein + coconut water beverage) and JAVAPRO (the first protein + coffee beverage). In October 2014, Chris led the $153 million sale of The Isopure Company to Glanbia plc, the Ireland-based global performance nutrition and ingredients company.

How did you get into the health industry?

Health and fitness have always been a big part of my life.  I was fortunate that my former boss at MolsonCoors recruited me away to run the EAS Sports Nutrition business early in my career.  He knew that protein shakes were more important to me than beers (though I enjoy a good IPA).  Fun to work in a space that you love.  I have had the good fortune of doing so for the last 10+ years.

Tell us about Isopure. What is your vision for the company?

Isopure = Purity. Simplicity. Inspiration. 

Our vision is to offer those looking to achieve their health, wellness, and life goals and ambitions the purest, simplest sports nutrition products and help inspire (and educate) them to do so.

Life Motto?

If you aren’t true to yourself, you aren’t true to anybody

Isopure's Motto?

We’re All More than Muscle

Your greatest success as CEO of Isopure? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

Taking over the reins of a company from its founder is never easy, and the founder of Isopure is like the John Wooden of the sports nutrition industry.  People often talk about stepping into a founder’s footsteps not realizing the magnitude of the shadow they cast even once they retire.  That shadow is what doomed many of the coaches who followed Wooden at UCLA.

I believe passionately that to earn respect one has to show respect, so I literally traveled the globe in my first few months in this role spending time with our team and key partners.  It was clear to me there was nothing to “fix”, so I could simply focus on growth and that is what we have achieved.  

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Trust your gut – even (and perhaps especially) when it leads you down the road less traveled.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Crisp, clean water – nothing more important than hydration.

Pizza – the second most important thing is “cheat day”!

What literature is on your bed stand?

I love historical non-fiction – recent favorites include The Boys in the Boat and Unbroken.

Currently I am reading Killing Patton and There’s A Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom – the latter is a book that my nine year old daughter recommended.

Role model - business and personal?

Personal – My grandpa.  He is absolutely a member of the greatest generation – served in World War II, in his mid-90s, and is one of the most amazing storytellers.  He is also one of the most loving and humble people in the world.

Business – Abraham Lincoln.  The notion of having one’s leadership team be a Team of Rivals with the confidence to articulate thoughtful, dissenting opinions and engage in meaningful debate is bold, refreshing, and much needed in today’s dynamic business environment.

Current passions?

Coaching my daughters’ basketball teams, stand-up paddle boarding, and country music shows.

What's next for Isopure?

We recently sold our company to Glanbia plc the Ireland-based global performance nutrition and ingredients company.  I look forward to partnering with their team to continue to achieve our vision of offering the finest sports nutrition products to consumers all over the world.