An Executive Dream Team of disruptors

July 2, 2012: 2:35 PM ET

Eyeglass online retail outfit CEO Roger Hardy discusses his picks for his fantasy Executive Dream Team.

Roger Hardy is the founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Coastal.com, which began as an online contact lens retailer in 2000 but added eyeglasses in 2009, and is now one of the biggest online lens businesses in North America. In 2012, Coastal hit $1 billion in eyewear sales. Before founding Coastal, Hardy worked for armored car company Loomis, which was bought by DHL, and then spent time doing marketing for a contact lens manufacturer. His entrepreneurial success and expertise in running a web-only business makes Hardy an ideal "expert" for the new Fortune Fantasy Sports Executive League (Anyone can play, and scoring depends, in part, on how closely the player's picks match those of experts like Hardy.).

Hardy spoke to Fortune's Daniel Roberts about his Dream Team, and the logic behind his picks. 

Roger Hardy: This Dream Team fantasy game is awesome; simple, straightforward layout, easy for anyone to pick a team. I really had fun.

In terms of my approach, because Coastal is kind of disruptive to the incumbent businesses, I sort of looked at my team that way. Who are the disruptors, who has shaped their industry and challenged the incumbents? I like people who are self-made and come from humble beginnings, face challenges. None of the people I've selected have had a cakewalk, I don't think. They're all clear thinkers and take on challenges.

I started with CEO and chose Jeff Bezos because he fits all my criteria -- self-made, dominated every industry he's entered, a real disruptor. He's really positioned himself to put Wal-Mart (WMT) out of business, and frankly I'm not sure they even know it. He's a leader who's been there and done it all in a short amount of time. He's mastered logistics in every state, made sure they have total selection and are able to deliver same-day, and he's really making himself the biggest retailer while also competing on technology fronts, which is key.

MORE: Field your very own Fortune Fantasy Executive Dream Team 

I moved on to COO and went with Don Thompson. McDonald's (MCD) has gone through an amazing regeneration over the past couple of years, now managing 33,000 locations. The COO job at that company has got to be one of the most complicated in America. So there are a lot of impressive people on this list but McDonald's has just been too good the last couple of years.

At CFO I have Dan Ammann from GM (GM). Dan, I saw him on the 40 Under 40, and that's pretty amazing to be under 40 and the CFO at GM. Every quarter, he has focused on cost and GM has really turned it around. A lot of people counted them out two and a half years ago, and although I don't know that there's been major product innovation, they've definitely kept costs down and have succeeded greatly.

CMO: You know, I've got Annie Scrivner from Starbucks (SBUX), because they've faced heavy competition but have still managed to pull off a major resurgence in the last 24 months. You can't really knock anything about Starbucks. Annie's background makes her very in touch with what customers are after, and I think the brand itself has been elevated in the last year and a half.

My utility player, Christine Day, is also a Starbucks alum. I don't know if that's just my West Coast allegiance, but I like her and I've seen Lululemon (LULU) go from a small regional player with one store on our street here in Vancouver to a huge success, one of the fastest-growing brands in the world and fast becoming one of the best known. Also, as a father of three girls, the brand is one of the few must-haves in our household. Christine is a world-class leader. She started out working with Howard Schultz and really climbed the ladder. You know, Lululemon has a brand for kids now and it's not cheap, but boy, the kids love it, they are locked in on the stuff. John Currie, the CFO at Lululemon, is on my board, I should add, so I get to hear from him all about the great job Christine is doing.

Click to choose your own Executive Dream Team.

Click to choose your own Executive Dream Team.

On the design side: This is probably a common choice, so maybe I should have gone for something different, but Idon't know how you argue with Jony Ive. It's Apple (AAPL) -- clean background, perfect design, and I think everyone is trying to catch up with Apple's design. Then again, Tesla would have certainly been my second choice. Elon Musk is great with design.

CIO: I have Todd Pierce, only because with the scalability of the web, having lived through that, it made sense to go with Salesforce (CRM). My thinking was that it's a fast-scaling web business, world-player, handles huge operations, so he has to be the best choice for a team. Salesforce has had some great success, and Pierce has had good success in the past as well. I figured this choice may have been a bit contrarian, too, and that everyone would choose Zynga (ZNGA).

For strategist: Now, I don't know if Larry Ellison would be a popular choice, but same kind of logic, for me, as with Bezos -- a guy with humble beginnings who has dominated everything he's entered into. A lot of replicable successes over and over, plus all of his experience and wisdom he's gained from fighting all the battles he's been through. For me, experience was part one, and part two is the success he's had from all those experiences. From a strategist standpoint, he sure knows how to handle battles. And it's not "show friends" at Oracle (ORCL), it's "show business" over there, and I think that's what it takes. I know he spent time strategizing closely with Steve Jobs as well.

For non-executive chair, same kind of thing, I went for John Mack because the experience he's had at Morgan Stanley (MS), and now being at KKR (KKR), it makes him a guy with proven success from making tough decisions. John Mack has an impressive Rolodex, impressive experience, and he keeps building winners over and over.

Posted in: ,
Join the Conversation
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.