NEW YORK — On April 3, BARK, Inc., an omnichannel dog brand, announced two new personnel appointments to its leadership team. Michael Black has been appointed to chief revenue officer and general manager of consumables, and Michael Parness has been appointed to chief marketing officer and general manager of play, effective immediately. 

Black and Parness will lead BARK’s expansion across its consumables and play divisions, respectively, and report to Matt Meeker, co-founder and chief executive officer of BARK. 

Black has extensive experience, most recently serving as founder and president of Paragon International Advisors, a consulting firm that partners with private equities in the pet industry. Prior to that, he served as chief executive officer and chief revenue officer of Outward Hound, where he led the company through a digital transformation and years of significant growth. He also previously served as senior buyer of pet accessories at Walmart and board advisor to PetLab Co. since 2022. 

Black has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University. He resides in Bentonville, Ark.

“Over the years, BARK has built one of the most impressive brands in the pet space,” Black said. “Their mission and dedication to enriching the lives of dogs resonated with me, and I am thrilled to join the team. 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 in leading brand, retail and e-commerce initiatives throughout the CPG industry, as well as in the pet and toy sectors. Most recently he served as chief marketing officer of premium, fresh dog food brand JustFoodForDogs, where he helped elevate brand awareness and drove growth across its direct-to-consumer (DTC), e-commerce and owned retail channels. Prior to that, he served as chief digital officer of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. 

Additionally, Parness previously served as chief marketing officer of Outward Hound for nine years, during which he worked closely with Black. In this role, Parness led various functions, like brand strategy, performance marketing, social media and creative, to help implement and expand Outward Hound’s DTC and e-commerce channels. 

Parness has two bachelor’s degrees, one from the Fashion Institute of Technology and another from Pratt Institute. He lives in Denver. 

“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,” Parness said. “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.”

Meeker added, “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. 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 DTC 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 said. “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.”

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.