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Omnichannel Dog Brand BARK Appoints 2 Pet Industry Veterans to Leadership Team

By Pet Age Staff//April 4, 2024//

Omnichannel Dog Brand BARK Appoints 2 Pet Industry Veterans to Leadership Team

By: Pet Age Staff//April 4, 2024//

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BARK, Inc., a leading global omnichannel dog brand, recently announced the appointments of Michael Black as chief revenue officer and general manager, consumables and Michael Parness as chief marketing officer and general manager, play. Reporting to the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Matt Meeker, Black and Parness will lead the company’s expansion across its consumables and play categories, respectively.

“We are thrilled to elevate our leadership team with the addition of two proven leaders who bring a wealth of experience across the pet, e-commerce, and retail sectors,” said Meeker. “Michael Black, who served as the chief executive officer of premium pet brand Outward Hound brings an impressive track record of delivering omnichannel growth across the pet sector. He will orchestrate our consumables strategy in both our direct-to-consumer and retail channels. Michael Parness, who served as the chief marketing officer of JustFoodForDogs and Outward Hound, has consistently demonstrated his ability to drive brand building and business growth through creative storytelling and strong customer engagement. He will oversee our growth in the play category and ensure our brand reaches as many dog households as possible. Together, we believe these additions will be instrumental in raising awareness of our mission and driving multi-channel, cross-category growth.”

Most recently, Black served as the founder and president of Paragon International Advisors, a consulting firm focused on partnering with private equity investors in the pet industry. Prior to that, he served as the chief executive officer – and previously the chief revenue officer – of Outward Hound. During his tenure, he led Outward Hound through a successful digital transformation and years of significant growth. Previously, he served as senior buyer, pet accessories at Walmart. Black has also served as obard advisor to PetLab Co. since 2022. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University.

“Over the years, BARK has built one of the most impressive brands in the pet space. Their mission and dedication to enriching the lives of dogs resonated with me, and I am thrilled to join the team,” said Black. “The retail commitments for treats in 2024 are just the beginning to boosting the visibility of BARK’s consumables footprint. In my view, the company has a significant runway in the large and growing consumables category, and I am excited to help BARK realize its full potential.”

Parness brings three decades of experience leading transformative brand, retail, and e-commerce initiatives, unlocking sustainable growth across various CPG industries, including pet and toys. He served most recently as the chief marketing officer of JustFoodForDogs, a premium fresh dog food brand, where he was responsible for elevating brand awareness and driving growth across their direct-to-consumer, e-commerce, and owned retail channels. Before that, Parness served as the chief digital officer of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, a multi-brand, omnichannel wine portfolio. Previously, he served as the chief marketing officer of Outward Hound for nine years, where he worked closely with Black and led various functions including brand strategy, performance marketing, social media, and creative. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Toy Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute.

“Having spent a considerable portion of my career in the pet space, I have long admired the impressive brand, customer experience, and innovative products that Matt and the team at BARK have built over the years,” said Parness. “I am eager to get started and help the Company deliver on its mission to make all dogs happy. With our strong brand and growing product portfolio, I believe we are poised to grow market share across our direct-to-consumer and retail channels.”