Joe Orlando, who helped make Collectors Universe and PSA one of the sports collectible industry’s leading authentication and grading companies, is stepping down as CEO. He will be replaced by Executive Chairman Nat Turner, the company announced Friday.
Orlando has spent more than 20 years with the company. He first joined Collectors Universe in 1999 and has been a collector of trading cards and memorabilia for more than 35 years. One of the hobby’s foremost experts, Orlando has authored multiple books about collectibles and helped build Collectors Universe into the top grading company in sports cards and memorabilia.
Orlando posted a heartfelt message to customers, followers and hobbyists on the PSA website Friday.
Turner, a lifelong collector and hobbyist who also founded and served as the CEO of Flatiron Health, has deep experience building and growing businesses by focusing on creating seamless customer-focused experiences. In his expanded role, he will oversee continued investment in the company focused on expanding Collector’s Universe’s capacity and capabilities. In recent months, Collector’s Universe has greatly expanded its reach, including the recent purchase of Goldin Auctions by parent company Collectors Holdings.
Collectors Universe, which owns Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), was recently acquired by an investor group led by Turner, D1 Capital Partners L.P., and Cohen Private Ventures, LLC. The company has since made multiple strategic acquisitions, including the purchase of software company Genamint and video game grading company Wata Games. It plans to further invest in infrastructure, technology and R&D to expand its service offerings and continue to improve and increase the scale and operational capacity of items it can grade and authenticate.
“I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved as a team at Collectors Universe over the last 20 years,” Orlando said in a statement released by Collectors Universe. “I know this is the right time for me to step aside because the company is stronger than ever. Nat has already demonstrated that he knows what’s required to scale the business in order to meet customer demand while also protecting the company’s reputation that has been carefully built on trust, integrity and transparency.
“This was a hard decision for me but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and staying active in the hobby, my personal passion.”
“Joe has been an indispensable part of Collectors for more than two decades and under his leadership, the company has become the yardstick that all other businesses in this industry are measured against,” Turner said. “Moving forward, we’ll continue making investments in the company that will help us scale to meet our existing and future customer demand, improve customer experience and support the continued maturation of the industry overall.”
ANOTHER KEY HIRE
Collectors Universe also this week announced the hiring of Microsoft veteran Ryan Hoge. An avid card collector and technology expert, Hoge was just named the organization’s first ever Chief Product Officer. The position will oversee product management of both PSA and PCGS. Hoge will lead a team of product managers, designers and data scientists working with a growing engineering team to build products and services for CU’s customer base.
“This is a new role for Collectors Universe. It will require deep customer empathy and understanding to solve real problems the company is facing,” Hoge said. “Naturally, we’ll be looking at how these [new] products can help the company achieve its business objectives. I’m also excited to deliver new value to collectors to make the hobby more fun and engaging.”
Hoge spent 16 years with Microsoft in a variety of product leadership positions. He joined the software giant in 2005 following the acquisition of a small startup where he was serving as a product manager.
In his new role at CU, Hoge will be partnering closely with the business leaders at PSA and PCGS, as well as the new Chief Technology Officer who leads the engineering team to bring these experiences to market. Hoge will be tasked with investing in technology to improve not only how the company operates today but how it can help CU workers in areas such as research, grading and customer service become more efficient and effective. Two initial areas where the company will see investments in technology pay off will be helping automate the identification of cards submitted for grading and updating the Set Registry, a way for collectors to compete to have the highest graded, most complete collections.