ThinkFest Preview: Todd Carmichael

The CEO of La Colombe will discuss transitioning from entrepreneur to CEO.

See La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael at ThinkFest 2015.

See La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael at ThinkFest 2015.

Todd Carmichael isn’t your typical CEO. White shirt, tie and stiff attitude? Not a chance. Try T-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap instead. Oh and he was the first man to make a solo trek across Antartica to the South Pole. And he has a reality show where he travels the world. Did I mention he worked for a Saudi prince and adopted four children from Ethiopia?

But the CEO of the fast-growing La Colombe Torrefaction has had plenty of adventures in the business world as well. Since the mid-1990s, Carmichael’s company has grown from one cafe in Rittenhouse Square to a coffee empire. The company is now on a quest to build 100 cafes across the country and its coffee beans are a staple on supermarket shelves across the country.

At ThinkFest 2015, Carmichael will discuss his journey in a talk titled “From Entrepreneur to CEO, My Greatest Adventure Yet.”

There should be plenty to discuss given the company’s big changes recently. In August, La Colombe announced that Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani yogurt has become the sole investor in the company, buying out Goode Partners, a private equity firm that invested $28.5 million in the company in 2014. That came on the heels of Carmichael’s launch of the draft latte, a frothy, low-calorie answer to iced coffee. He even has plans to can the product and sell it in stores.

Expect Carmichael to show his Philly pride. When I interviewed him about the draft latte, he told me this: “This is the beverage that Philadelphia is going to export to the rest of the world. Philadelphia is going to be home base for the next generation of coffee.”

Join us on November 6th at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business for a day of the city’s smartest people sharing their biggest ideas. Read all of our ThinkFest 2015 previews here, and get your tickets today.

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