INTERVIEW: PODS discusses hire of Koch as new president and CEO
Co-exec chairman of the board of directors tells DV about Koch's fit with PODS
Moving and storage company PODS Enterprises Inc. announced this week that John B. Koch will become its president and chief executive officer, effective Sept. 17. He is transitioning from his current role as president of ADT North America's Residential/Small Business division.
DailyVista caught up with Ransom James, co-executive chairman of the board of directors, who has served on the board since 2007. He discussed how Koch will key PODS on its growth track.
“John has been a great leader at Alltel and ADT over the course of his career and most recently he’s been president of North American Security for ADT, focused primarily on residential but also on commercial customers," he said. "ADT is a branded consumer-service business which is exactly what PODS is."
ADT, which recently appointed a new chief marketing officer, specializes in electronic security, interactive automation and related monitoring services for residences and small businesses.
Koch (pictured below) is currently responsible for setting the strategic vision for the company's $3 billion Residential/Small Business division. The division, overseeing business operations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, includes more than 16,000 employees, 200 branch offices, six customer monitoring centers and 6.4 million customers.
James continued to talk about the similarities of the two category leaders, including how both companies' sales and service channels are focused through call-center and the Internet.
“ADT has a dealer network similar to our franchise network, so there are a lot of similarities in the ADT business model that are similar to the PODS business model," James said. "Ultimately, John develops a culture of customer-service-focus as well as growth at ADT and those are the two things that are the hallmarks of our strategy here at PODS,” James added that PODS strategy, focus and commitment to customer experience won't change monumentally. However, the company intends to take other pieces from the moving and storage industry to evolve its approach.
Recently, PODS has increased its video and display advertising targeting certain demographics. The company is also focusing more on its customer service approach. James told DailyVista that PODS plans to ramp up these efforts even further.
"For example, John has a lot of experience with call-centers," he added. "We’ve got a 250-person call center and we expect the focus and execution around making a consumers’ call at the call-center friendlier, easier and more focused on the customers’ needs. That’s actually already underway, as an example, but we expect John’s leadership to enhance that once he comes on board.”
Koch’s career spans more than 25 years in marketing, operations and corporate general management. Prior to joining ADT, he was president of wireline services at Alltel, holding responsibilities for local telephone, long distance, Internet, broadband data and directory operations.
Koch graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor's of Science and a Master's of Science in systems engineering.
"John’s experience is actually pretty broad based; at Alltel he did finance strategy, network and engineering, and marketing," James expressed. "Obviously, he has been the president at both Alltel and ADT, so he is an effective leader, CEO, and general manager. So, in general, he’s got a pretty broad-based background, including marketing, but not exclusively marketing."
He continued that Koch will be involved in all facets of the business, including marketing. "I expect that he will be involved in [marketing] for sure, in source of some of the digital marketing efforts that we are making and some of the traditional marketing efforts that we continue to make, like national television,” our source explained. “He will be involved with all of that but not any more so in that particular area than he would be in other areas like running the operations of our corporate locations, as well as having a hand in running the operations in our long-distance moving business."
James emphasized the following statement, which summed-up PODS' mentality as it welcomes Koch to the team.
“We’ve got a great team at PODS already; the senior team is a good, neat experienced team and the rest of the organization is talented as well," he stated. "Frankly, we see John’s addition uniting all of that talent that is already there and really focusing on the execution of our two main initiatives, which are customers' experience and growth in our overall business."
This is PODS' first CEO shift since 2007 when its President and CEO Peter Warhurst stepped down.
“The prior CEO mutually departed in February of 2007, James said. "He was a good executive when he joined and we appreciate all of his service and dedication to the company and having said that, we think it’s time for new leadership and that’s what we found in John Koch. John's talent is going to be the harness that is steering our execution of the customers' experience and growth.”
DailyVista recently spoke to Chief Marketing Officer George Spowart about current marketing ingenuities and with Storage Mobility's President, Ken Ude, about marketing and partnerships. Storage Mobility is the world’s largest PODS franchisee, with 21 locations across the U.S.
“Under the Starcom umbrella, we work with two different groups: one is called Spark Communications and they tend to handle both our TV and online media buying,” Spowart told DV. “There is also another group within the Starcom group, which is is SMGpm, pm standing for Performance Marketing, and they do our search engine marketing. We also have the Richards Group, who does our creative and is our lead strategic agency.”
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