PROFILE

Kai Clarke

CEO, American Retail Consultants

Kai Clarke is a globally-based technical president, successful at troubled business turnarounds, while securing new funding alternatives, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions for diverse channels. Kai is a results -oriented, revenue and profit driven, global president with an MBA and a strong financial, logistics, consumer products and managerial background. He is a proven road warrior skilled in establishing and managing new global divisions with $200 million profit and loss responsibility, including cradle to grave manufacturing, product planning, forecasting, logistics, tracking and analysis modeling. Kai’s background as an MBA with a strong technical aptitude including expertise in consumer product design (CPG), manufacturing, logistics, OEM/ODM and retail sales, and marketing and channel development. Kai’s focus is as a practiced leader in strategic direction, data mining, leadership and new business planning.

Kai’s management strengths include:

  • Consultative and Solutions-Oriented Leadership
  • Successful Start-Up and New Business Creation Expert
  • New Product creation, Global OEM/ODM manufacturing, branding and positioning
  • Proven leader of global teams to achieve Rapid Revenue and Profit Growth
  • Brand Equity Development and New Market Penetration
  • $200 MM+ P&L Management
  • Contract, Sub-contract and Strategic Alliance Negotiations
  • Global Logistics and Account Management
  • Multi-Channel targeting and product differentiation

Kai is an entrepreneurial leader, who rapidly penetrates new markets, develops new products, and produces impressive revenue results while maximizing market share and profitability with Retailers, OEMs, ODMs and Asia-based sub-contract manufacturers. Currently, Kai’s responsibilities include the P&L development and execution of commercial strategy and tactics as part of the $200 million marketing, sales, logistics, and international corporate focus of the company. Focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their commercial systems, processes, and logistics, some of Kai’s success include;

    • Elevated key BU revenues to 28% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets.
    • Created new Internet, B2B and B2C initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth of 14% for 2014.
    • Created mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans reducing overall costs by 18%.
    • Identified 11 new commercially viable market activities to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities, including sourcing product from new partners in China, and reducing COGS by 6%
    • Continually developed superior P&L results by leading global teams to optimize business operations, product performance and market development focusing on strategic marketing and logistics KPI activities.
    • Improved the skills and focus of the team through collaborative problem solving, KPI metrics and goal achievement

Prior to this, Kai Clarke was the President of Miraclebeam Products – driving development of their high-technology, household goods, pet products, gifts and accessories, around Laser, EL and LED products and redefining their global corporate focus. Since joining Miraclebeam Products, for over 7 years, Kai introduced over 437 new SKUs in 15 new channels while developing Miraclebeam’s retail and OEM positions.

Before this, Kai was the President of Compact Power Systems where he grew the Cellboost brand and increased its retail presence from 10,000 storefronts to over 80,000 storefronts in the US while developing 16 new brands as part of an international expansion focus. Kai also helped secure over $10 million dollars in corporate funding for the organization.

Prior to this role, Kai was responsible for Americas Business Development at InFocus, and redefined their retail and home theater projection business in the Americas. He developed multiple new SKUs, and created over $22 million in new product revenue in these new retail channels.

In October 2000, he created the Desktop Monitors Group at Planar adding over $15 million dollars in revenues, and creating 17 new products. He followed this up with their Plasma Division 2 years later. Prior to this he was the Director of Global OEM Sales and Marketing at Energizer.

He is an acknowledged authority on consumer electronics, batteries, fuel cells, PDAs, handhelds, TFT-AMLCDs, computer hardware, LCD-TVs and Plasma display products. His previous 3 positions included leading successful international multi-million dollar new division start-ups, as well as existing division turn-arounds in each of these fields. Kai has held senior management positions at Planar Systems, Energizer, Gillette/Duracell, and SC Johnson and Son and is an active member of the senior teaching faculty at the University of Phoenix MBA program with over 15 years of teaching in the graduate school.  Kai sits on the board of many non-profit organizations, including AmpSurf which is dedicated to helping returning vets and others who have given part of themselves in our efforts to protect America.

Globally-based, technical president and COO, successful at leading startups, small companies and troubled business turnarounds, while securing new funding alternatives, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions for diverse channels.
Results-oriented focus on revenue, market penetration and profits. Proven road warrior skilled in establishing and managing new corporate divisions with profit and loss responsibility, including cradle to grave manufacturing, product planning, forecasting, logistics, tracking and analysis modeling. Strong technical aptitude including expertise in FDA product packaging, medical-grade manufacturing, logistics, Import / Export product sourcing, OEM/ODM, retail sales & marketing and channel development. Practiced leader in strategic direction, data mining, international product sourcing, leadership and new business planning. Exceptional clarity in situations where resources must be altered in a self-sustaining growth structure.
Management Strengths include:
• Consultative and solutions-oriented leadership across entire organizations in over 100 markets
• Leading successful small company, start-up and business turn-arounds from $5 million to $200 million
• Growing top line revenues through rapid new product creation, medical-grade manufacturing, marketing, branding and positioning by building teams with balanced communication and execution including full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end-to-end go to market strategy
• Proven success developing teams to achieve rapid revenue and profit growth exceeding 50%
• Brand equity development and new market penetration managing 260+ people
• $200 MM+ P&L management with a bottom line focus and the ability to operate at a strategic level
• Global logistics and account management to grow business throughout Asia (40%) and Europe (50%)
• Strong appreciation for cultural nuances while building domestic and international teams. Extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia over the last 20 years, including living part-time in China over the last 7 years as well as many years growing up as a military brat in Europe.

EXPERIENCE:
AMERICAN RETAIL CONSULTANTS-LOS ANGELES-2013-PRESENT - PRESIDENT AND CEO
President and CEO for American Retail Consultants, Inc., an American based company that supports international companies to create USA focused sales and marketing, management, development, and consulting company of hard goods, CPG, electronics and consumer services and products. Responsible for the P&L development and execution of commercial strategy and tactics as part of the multi-million dollar American marketing, sales, logistics, and operations of several international initiatives. Focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our customer’s commercial systems, operations, processes, and logistics from cradle to grave, including manufacturing, marketing, packaging and domestic sales.
• Elevated KPI revenues to 44% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with an emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets.
• Created new Internet, B2B and B2C marketing initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth of 84% for 2013
• Created mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans reducing overall costs by 32%.
• Identified 61 new commercially viable market activities, sourcing new products to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities from new partners in China, and reducing COGS by 6%.
• Elevated key BU revenues to 28% year-over-year growth (product and Import / Export sourcing) using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses.

MIRACLEBEAM PRODUCTS, INC. - LOS ANGELES-2006-2013 - PRESIDENT AND COO
As president of Miraclebeam, a laser-based manufacturer, my responsibility included the financial, operational, technical and service performance of the company’s global teams. This included the execution of our corporate growth plans, including dynamic global ERP and CRM implementations, remote team management, and international channel strategies to support revenue growth goals across current and emerging products.
Living part of the time over the last 7 years from my second home in China and the remainder of the time from my base in Los Angeles, my global focus was split between managing our China based manufacturing, our USA sales and our logistical and FDA-focused marketing operations. Key focus includes the development and execution of medical grade fabrication, sales and marketing (KPI), for our (FDA approved) laser strategy.
Controlled costs while driving profitability (EBITDA) by increasing gross margins through systems that measured and managed service line profitability, labor spend/productivity, and pricing while being responsive to the market and focusing on top-line margin delivery.
• Created and implemented a national channel distribution and logistics strategy, improved product quality in our Chinese Partner’s Factories and restored our client Import / Export service levels to world-class FDA standards exceeding 20% revenue growth.
• Redefined our POS, product packaging, website, and corporate marketing strategies to reflect a common marketing and product branding approach, surpassing FDA accession number and labeling requirements
• Assessed market opportunities, competitive research, trend analysis and evolving global product needs to develop a business growth plan, based on gaining market share through new product research and development, and client growth (60%+) in 15 different product categories and through the sourcing, licensing and manufacturing of over 400 new SKUs for major retailers including the government (GSA).
• Maximized our LEAN manufacturing and warehousing, to reduce budgets by 9%, while providing corporate logistics, automation and operational efficiencies (exceeding FDA standards).
• Forecast annual capital expenditure projections/submissions while actively overseeing our purchase order and accounts payable processes resulting in savings of 6%
• Negotiated monthly raw material pricing with our suppliers, customer stocking agreements and 3+ month inventory requirements, to maximize a JIT and LEAN manufacturing and supply-chain model.

COMPACT POWER SYSTEMS (CELLBOOST), LOS ANGELES-2003-2006 - PRESIDENT AND COO
As President and manager of this $25 million, entrepreneurial-focused team, my key focus was on providing direction and leadership to our financial, operational and management teams to ensure short and long-term revenue growth and profitability. Focused on identifying and creating a supporting management structure to grow and manage the organization more profitably and efficiently.
Actively negotiated, planned and organized the corporate focus around a multi-market (OEM/Carrier/Retail) environment for growing client partnerships, brand management, new product growth, and category growth using a fiscally sound P&L. Directly responsible for establishing the organization’s core competencies to more accurately reflect those of our customer’s while securing new business, discovering new financing, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions. Worked collaboratively to develop and execute the strategic vision and roadmap while fulfilling consistent, double digit growth.
Changed the corporate focus from a US-based one to a global organization with representation and sales in 20 different countries.
• Created over $7 million dollars in new revenues in both OEM and commercial channels (Cellboost) while increasing store distribution from 10,000 storefronts to over 80,000 storefronts.
• Produced ongoing financial cost reductions of over $200,000 per quarter while elevating service quality and customer service through six sigma best practices and ISO (9001, 9002) implementations
• Designed, introduced, manufactured and marketed 16 new items in 7 new categories (OEM and retail) to provide a broader product base for increased revenues while establishing our full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end to end go to market consumer and carrier strategy
• Developed relationships with 10 new marketing partners in 2003, and created over 30 new SKUs including all roadmap, collateral and POP materials within each category
• Decreased warehouse inventories by over $1 million in 2005, lowered logistical costs by over $200K, while increasing product turns.
• Obtained new cash financing of $10 Million for continued corporate and manufacturing growth and new product R&D

UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX –1999-PRESENT (PART-TIME) - SENIOR UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
Part-time, active MBA professor, mentoring and teaching students in multiple disciplines in the Graduate School of Business. My desire and aptitude for learning and understanding new technologies and concepts, has required a traditional, as well as an Internet-based teaching style, since my classrooms are facilitated electronically “on line.” Areas of focus include Graduate Computer Science, Critical Thinking, Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Management and Communications.

PLANAR SYSTEMS, INC.-PORTLAND, OR-2000-2003 - VP/GM (COO) OF COMMERCIAL MONITORS
Recruited to start-up and develop a new commercial monitor division. Responsible for new business revenues of over $80 million in sales, amid 3 years of company reductions. Given General Manager/VP responsibilities to create and lead a new winning division for the company. Controlled cash-to-cash cycles and inventories to create a rapid-turn business model to market our products for commercial, OEM and retail customers.
• Grew the business from concept to over $15 million in new revenues for the first year and $60 million in the second year by defining our roadmap, creating products to fill our channels and differentiating these targets.
• Created all OEM, ODM, consumer and medical sales marketing materials, product collateral, packaging and directed product and business development for the unit’s electronic and traditional sales and marketing efforts including development of 37 new SKUs.
• Established key Retail Consumer Products partnerships, including all multi-lingual manufacturing, packaging and collateral materials for Asia and Europe.

ENERGIZER, INC.-ST. LOUIS, MO 1999-2000 - DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL OEM SALES AND MARKETING
Brought in to strategically re-define and reposition our corporate, global, OEM and medical, sales and marketing (e-centric, direct and distribution marketing) strategy. Responsible for over $108 million in revenue. Developed the E2 initiative for the medical channel. Used market opportunity analysis and Nielsen product research to reposition our main product from a single, to a multi-differentiated one, using a product-segmentation approach, focusing on PDAs, CE, wireless and mobile applications for the medical, industrial and consumer products.
• Established firm targets and objectives for both the marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements. Increased sales by over 12% in 1999
• Created $12 million in new revenue with distributors, brokers and Fortune 100 Brand Managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our brands worldwide.
• Led Philips Pronto and Microsoft Toy energy design implementation from cradle to grave and marketed this to all corporate divisions. Achieved 6 new design wins, creating over $4 million in new business.

GILLETTE/DURACELL, INC.-SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1996-1999 - GLOBAL OEM MARKETING DIRECTOR
Managed our OEM specialist marketing and sales teams, developing and cultivating new and existing products, major accounts and partnerships. Responsible for over $95 Million in revenue. Expert in new product creation, industry trade marketing, and retail trends, pricing, category practices, and product positioning.
• Successfully secured 23 design-wins (hardware, service) involving global Duracell strategic partners in 1998. Increased revenues by over $36 million in 1998, through new product differentiation.
• Facilitated 11 mobile, medical, handheld, wireless and battery design-ins with our global marketing teams. Achieved over $95 million in new revenues in 1997. Number 1 performer in 1997.
• Created “Device of the Month” co-promotional campaigns with mobile and wireless devices. 8 new mobile, medical, and PDA design-wins. Shipments increased by 60% over a 12-month period.



LEEMAH, INC. - SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1992-1996 - VP OF INTERNATIONAL SALES AND MARKETING
An international and US-based position responsible for negotiating new business partnerships with subcontract manufacturers for LeeMAH's new 14-acre facility in Taishan, China. Responsible for LeeMAH’s Hong Kong and San Francisco IPOs, and executive decision makers at all major account projects.
• Created $31 million in revenue from AT&T, 3COM and Xerox.
• Helped launch, market, define and create a new Cisco production line with a $40 million brand extension, and profits of $21 million, all under budget.
• EDI established for all global IPOs, and set-up China QA and ISO 9000 teams
• Spearheaded and developed 25 new product proposals resulting in key marketing wins with HP and Xerox.

U.S. STAMP- (S.C. JOHNSON AND SON INC).-HOUSTON, TX 1988-1992- NATIONAL SALES MANAGER
Motivated a 100+ person national sales force concentrating on rapidly increasing sales with government, brokers, national accounts and over 400 retailers. Multi-Unit P/L accountability of over $180 million- Team Leader on 4 new product rollouts.
• Tripled new account sales for 1993 and increased ROI by 118% for government and key national accounts
• Decreased operating costs by 43% in ’92 while coming-in under budget by over 10% in ‘89-‘92
• Boosted sales by 152% in 1989, over 200% in 1990 while reducing our budget by 35%

TAKEDA-ABBOTT PHARMACEUTICALS (TAP) HOUSTON, TX 1986-1988 - ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Responsible for selling injectable pharmaceuticals into the South Texas Region. Training includes essential selling skills, Buy and Bill model, pricing contracts, and market data analysis. Solid understanding of the Managed Healthcare Environment, insurance reimbursement and specialty pharmacies.

• Covered military and private sector specialty accounts in South Texas
• Worked with Oncologists, Urologists, OB-GYNs and Hormonal Endocrinologists

BRISTOL-MYERS (BMS) DENVER, CO 1982-1985 - TERRITORY BUSINESS MANAGER
Responsible for selling (BM) pharmaceuticals into the 11 State Rocky Mountain Region. Skills developed include multi-team collaboration, business analytics and new team mentoring. Maximized pharmacy, retail and hospital accounts using direct sales presentations. Skilled in insurance reimbursement.
• Developed major opinion leaders and speakers in key markets, including the military and the private sector

EDUCATION:
MBA-Michigan State University/University of Tulsa/University of Phoenix: Marketing, Finance
B.A.-Michigan State University: Advertising Management-Minor in Economics and Mathematics
Fluent in French, versed in German and some Chinese
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  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Will 7-Eleven’s plan to deal with worker shortages in Japan migrate to America?

    Yes, fully automated checkouts are in our future. Why do we need a person to charge us for products when we place these in our carts ourselves? After we place products in our carts, we should be able to simply select "charge cart" and everything in the cart gets charged to our electronic payment on our phone as we walk out the door of the store. No checkouts, no waiting, no workers at checkstands. Now workers will be focused on helping customers find and place items in their cart! Great customer service!
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Will artificial intelligence replace CEOs?

    AI is an interesting technology tool, but is hardly equivalent to making complex management decisions that require human interaction, empathy, sympathy and feelings. These emotions and feelings drive our ability to create, innovate and make us unique (and better as CEOs).
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    Will IKEA find success in standalone restaurants?

    IKEA cannot discard the fact that their destination store is a huge factor behind people buying food in their stores. Perhaps a better question might be, how well would $5 meatballs sell in 7-11? It is not just the initial flurry of growth that a standalone cafe might bring -- the real question, is for how long would this concept be able to survive on repeated sales?
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    The in-store culture and customer service is not related to the shift in the growth of online buying at all. Amazon and other e-commerce sites have grown from a mixture of availability, ease of use and price. I can get what I want, when I want it, as easy as a mouse click and get the best price? Why would I shop anywhere else? If the consumer wants a different in-store experience there are many competitors for any type of merchandise you are buying. Just go to another store. Online, the choice is also broad and easy. We should also remember that we don't know the whole story behind the United Airlines debacle.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    Are outlet malls an outlier?

    Outlet malls are not immune to the challenges of retail, however, they offer the attraction of large numbers or "premium" retail brands in one central location. They will continue to face the challenge of e-commerce as their largest competitor in addition to the traditional retail woes of out of stocks, understaffed stores, long checkout lines, and demanding consumers who are stressed because of the drive and parking issues associated with outlet malls.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?

    Saturday delivery should be standard for all major carriers. The USPS has been doing this for years. Now UPS is announcing this not because of it being a worthwhile investment, but because Amazon and others are demanding that they perform this service or they will go elsewhere (Amazon shipping its own products).
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Are retail CEOs ready to ‘disagree and commit’ like Jeff Bezos?

    Yes, executives all need to sometimes take chances and disagree with their subordinates, but agree to disagree to move to the next level. Waiting for total agreement is waiting to perish and no business can survive this. Disruptive thinking starts with disagreement, and this has proven to be the best way to move forward in today's environment.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    What does the decision to close Quidsi say about the battle between Amazon and Jet.com?

    Amazon purchased Quidsi for what Amazon didn't have, not to duplicate what it already had. Since absorbing this, Amazon has no use for a company that sells products online (this is what Amazon does). Welcome to the world of mergers! This is a smart business decision for Amazon.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    Sam’s says it’s scoring with club pickup

    This is a "concierge service" which might be a profitable segment with some of Sam's club offerings, but it has to have an impact on costs. The entire club model is built upon a choose your own, browse the aisle, extra-large size, super discounted, product offerings. This seems to go against this model. I doubt it will be successful in all clubs in the longer term.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    Do retailers need middle men to match them up with tech startups?

    No. Retailers need to focus on the key fundamentals of managing products at retail, both online and onground. Advancing the growth, maturity and often failure of a tech startup, is usually not part of a retailer's DNA. Proven technologies, with proven models and tools can find their way to a retailer. The basics of managing out-of-stocks, logistics, pricing, product placement, communication with their customers, and bridging the online gap are enough hurdles for retailers to focus on without worrying about the viability of a tech startup.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    How will automation transform selling floor jobs?

    Automation continues to assist and inform, but there will always be a place for human to human contact in many types of sales. People thrive on this. Especially where gaining agreement, personal opinions and personal experiences are an integral part of the sales experience (like high-end jewelry).
  • Posted on: 03/27/2017

    Should retailers ditch five-star ratings?

    Ratings are here to stay. Netflix can do what they want, but the rest of the online world has been using 5 star ratings for years. There is no magic switch to turn them off or on, or push consumers to only use your "system."
  • Posted on: 03/27/2017

    Lowe’s innovates because it has to

    Innovate or perish. That has been the key to success at retail since before Sam Walton. That shouldn't stop for very aggressive, competitive retailers like Lowe's or HD. Pushing the envelope really helps both the retailer and the category. "Why stop now?" might be a better question.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2017

    Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure play e-tailers?

    Successful e-tailing requires a full drop ship logistical complement, as well as developing an online presence that create regular sales and profits is the key. This is a different model than traditional retail. Poor brick and mortar retailers are generally bad business people, not bad because of a model. Changing models doesn't make them good business people.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Is ‘wantedness’ something that marketers need?

    Many brands don't aspire to be wanted, and don't care. Most house brands only want to be "like" the national brand. Thousands of brands focus strictly on price (the dollar stores are full of these), and focus on becoming an impulse buy, not a wanted product.

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