All in the Family: Sister Co-CEOs Shape Badger’s Future

We’ve got some pretty exciting news to share about Badger. Okay, so, it’s no secret that twenty-three years ago our founder, Bill Whyte, a carpenter at the time, created a single, simple balm that has turned into a global business with over one hundred natural and organic products—from lip and body balms to hair oils, bug repellents, and mineral sunscreens. But that’s not the news we’re referring to.

In early August, something that has long been in the works finally came to fruition. Emily Schwerin-Whyte and Rebecca Hamilton, Bill’s and Katie’s daughters and second generation family owners, became co-CEOs of Badger!

Badger co-CEO Emily Schwerin-Whyte, COO Katie Schwerin, Founder Bill Whyte, and Co-CEO Rebecca Hamilton

Co-CEOs, is that a real thing?

Succession planning that incorporates co-CEOs is not unheard of for second-generation, family-owned businesses. However, true to our roots of collaboration, transparency, and individual responsibility in a team concept, the Badger version of the title is ‘Collaborative Executive Officer.’

In addressing company employees, Bill said “My new title is ‘Founder.’ To me, that’s profound, and it says it all, that I had the persistence and good fortune to turn an idea into reality and that I had the support of a community of good people who helped make that vision far greater and more successful than I ever imagined.”

It’s important to note that as Bill transitions to founder, his wife Katie Schwerin, a co-owner and key member of Badger’s leadership teams, will remain as COO, responsible for spearheading and prioritizing many of our unique company benefits and social impact.

Where the magic happens: Badger manufactures most of its products at its facility in Gilsum, NH

Remain calm and carry on

For new co-CEOs Emily and Rebecca, as well as for Badger employees, day-to-day operations at the Company will remain much the same, with both daughters retaining their current focus areas within the business. Emily heads up sales and marketing, and Rebecca leads the research and product development side of the business. However, as part of co-leading Badger, both will take a more active, public-facing role in representing the company and ensuring its continued growth and success.

Bill summed it up beautifully when he stated, “CEO carry’s a great weight and responsibility. They hold the well-being of the company as a whole, and they take action to keep us steady whatever comes our way! And they do all of this in consultation with and with the support of all of us. Really, my daughters Emily and Rebecca and wife Katie have been doing this for years.”

We’re not the only ones celebrating

We hope you join us in congratulating Emily and Rebecca on becoming co-CEOs of Badger. Here are a couple of terrific recently written articles about the transition that offer additional insight and some fascinating tidbits about Badger’s history that even we had forgotten. Enjoy!

Sisters Are Leading W.S. Badger Co. As Co-CEOs, by Patrick Gorman, managing editor, Chief Executive magazine.

“A Vehicle For Impact”: How Badger Became A Natural Products Mainstay Without Selling Out, by Rachel Brown, editor in chief, Beauty Independent.

What do you think about Badger and its new sister CEOs? Tell us in the comments below!

Deirdre Fitzgerald

Before joining Badger, Deirdre was the director of communications at the Student Conservation Association, a non-profit group dedicated to building the next generation of conservation leaders. She has spent over 20 years as a public relations professional helping socially-minded and mission-driven companies ensure a sustainable future. Deirdre holds a BFA in Art History from Syracuse University and lives in Southwestern New Hampshire with her family.

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