Rick Souder, Crutchfield: Leading with Credibility
Souder credits Crutchfield founder Bill Crutchfield, one of his business mentors, with possessing and unhesitatingly executing a long-term view on all aspects of business, including Internet retailing, an attitude that has informed Souder’s approach to his job. “I very much admire him for knowing what the strength is of what we’re trying to do and what serves our brand well,” Souder said.
“A perfect example of that was the decision two-and-a-half years ago to stop selling on Amazon. He gave up volume, but really felt that Crutchfield would be better-positioned, long term. That wasn’t a negative about Amazon; it was recognizing it for what it was and what was going on there, and saying we think our brand would be better off the site.”
From day one in his electronics career, Souder has been guided by words of counsel offered by Circuit City’s head of merchandising, Walter Bruckhart, who upheld the buyer’s role as one of the most important in the company. “I didn’t understand at first, but eventually I learned. You’re telling people that these are the hot products and we’re going to go in this direction, and they have to believe you,” Souder said. “You have to have the credibility so that they’re comfortable and feel that’s the right thing to do.”