Ryan DeLuca, who built nutritional-supplement seller Bodybuilding.com into one of the Treasure Valley’s most successful startups, said Wednesday that he stepped down voluntarily because it was time for a new leader as the company grew.
He sprang the news to employees Monday, the same day he announced it to the world on his public Facebook page.
“The senior team knew it was coming, but they really found out when I announced it on Monday,” DeLuca told the Idaho Statesman.
He will be replaced for now by interim CEO Chris Shean, the chief financial officer of Bodybuilding’s parent company, Liberty Interactive. Both companies are owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media.
DeLuca, who started the online retailer in his garage, compared his achievement to raising a child. He said he is an entrepreneur, and the company needs more professional management. The company has the team and financial strength to transition to new leadership, he said.
“I’m excited about where the company is,” he said. “It’s in a strong position in the industry.”
The company has grown to 800 employees, including 600 in the Treasure Valley. It is on pace to surpass $500 million in sales this year and carries about 15,000 nutrition and weightlifting supplements online.
DeLuca, a 1996 graduate of Boise’s Capital High School, said he will remain at Bodybuilding.com as an adviser for at least three to five years. He said he’ll have a role in selecting his successor. Beyond that, his involvement will depend in part on his successor.
“I don’t want to come in and usurp the power of the new person and push myself in where I’m not needed,” he said. “But with 17 years of experience, I think I can provide some value.”
DeLuca’s Facebook account now lists him as a “Professional Traveler,” who is “retired ... for now.”
He plans to travel for a year and “do stuff just for fun” that he was too busy to pursue as CEO.
But another startup may be in his future. DeLuca says he is already wading through a mental list of business ideas that have been on the back burner for years.
“I want to take a year and not make any quick decisions before I jump right back into something that requires all of my attention, all day, every day,” he said. “But I’ve definitely got the bug.”