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SBJ/March 20 - 26, 2006/Forty Under 40
Published March 20, 2006
FAUST CAPOBIANCO IV
By Ryan Basen
• Age: 34
• Title: President
• Company: Majestic Athletic
• Education: B.A., government, Notre Dame, 1994
• Family: Wife, Melissa; daughters Luisa Grace, 3, and Elena Marie, 1
• Career: Started in the family business as licensing director; named president in 2002.
• Last vacation: New Jersey shore for Labor Day weekend
• Last book read: “Get Better or Get Beaten!: 31 Leadership Secrets from GE’s Jack Welch” by Robert Slater
• Last movie seen: “Curious George” with my elder daughter
• Pet peeve: When people send e-mails instead of having an actual conversation
• Greatest achievement: Having a wonderful personal and professional relationship with my family
• Greatest disappointment: None. I’m a lucky guy.
• Fantasy job: Athletic director at Notre Dame
• Executive most admired: My father, Faust III, because of his work ethic and business ethics and the consistency and vision he’s had
• Business advice: You’re never as good — or as bad — as you think you are.
It was a busy winter in the Lehigh Valley, Pa., offices of Majestic Athletic. In addition to preparing for its second season as the official uniform provider of Major League Baseball, the company signed uniform deals for the World Baseball Classic and prepared for further expansion.
Even as Majestic officials focused on those new endeavors, they efficiently fulfilled all other client requests. Faust Capobianco IV, Majestic's president, has ensured they follow that longtime strategy. And why not? While several competitors dropped out of the market because they were slow to react, Majestic, getting products out quickly, grew from a tiny operation into one that is poised to become a top international sports apparel company.
After getting the MLB deal, Capobianco would have been excused for becoming complacent. Instead, he did official uniform deals for 12 of the 16 WBC teams, opened sales offices in Canada and the United Kingdom (with plans to expand to Japan later this year), and approved new baseball lifestyle launches for products such as warm-ups, fleeces and track suits.
Meanwhile, he's held onto the modus operandi and many of the employees that have defined the company since his father shifted its business plan to sports apparel maker 30 years ago.
"We're real proud of where we've come from," Capobianco said. "Continuity's always been important to us."
It's important to MLB officials, too. Majestic has been a stable business partner since it did its first MLB licensing deal in 1984, said Howard Smith, MLB senior vice president of licensing. It also has been proactive. MLB teams have been "thrilled" during their first year exclusively with Majestic uniforms, Smith said, in part because the company adjusts to their every whim.
"They're so accommodating," Smith said of Majestic, which was founded as Maria Rose Fashions Inc. by Capobianco's grandmother in the 1940s. "They've never really changed that mind-set of that small company that grew out of a sewing factory."
Capobianco's vision, drive and humble lifestyle (he lives in Easton, Pa., near the company's Bangor headquarters) are the backbone of a company whose success has been "storybook," Smith added.
"The remarkable thing about Faust is you had this small company," Smith said, "[and] it wasn't incredibly special to anybody." Capobianco made it so. "Usually," Smith added, "you don't have a company and a young executive like Faust growing in harmony."
As long as Capobianco sticks to his core strategy, the growth is likely to continue. Majestic spent about two decades building to the point where it is now with MLB, Capobianco said. Over the last year, it proved it could handle more responsibilities and a much heavier volume of product.
More importantly, he said, the company re-emphasized what he calls a "culture of urgency."
"We have to be more agile and more responsive than the big guys on the block," he said. "That's what got us here, and that's what's going to help us in the future."