Baltimore, MD — Definitive Technology co-founder and president Sandy Gross announced his retirement effective (date TBD), ending an illustrious 40-year career in the audio industry. Gross’s retirement has been long-planned but kept confidential while he positioned the company and key executives for a smooth transition after his exit.
“Since I sold Definitive to Directed Electronics in 2005 I’ve been contemplating the next phase of my life,” he said. “For decades I’ve worked 24/7 running my businesses, and I saw the time approaching when I would want to slow down, relax, and indulge my outside-of-work passions. But I didn’t want to leave before there was a management structure in place that could continue Definitive’s legacy of quality and success.”
In 2007, Gross promoted long-time Definitive executive Dave Peet to executive vice president, responsible for worldwide sales and administration. The same year Gross tapped Polk Audio veteran Paul DiComo to join Definitive as vice president of marketing responsible for all PR, communication, and marketing activities. Peet and DiComo have been running Definitive’s day-to-day business while Gross slowly transitioned out of daily management. Upon Gross’s departure DiComo and Peet will assume responsibility for product conceptualization and development, Gross’s specialty.
“I have supreme confidence in Dave and Paul’s abilities to take Definitive to new heights,” Gross continued. “I’ve known and worked closely with both of them for many years and I know they have all the tools necessary to succeed. They share my passion for high quality audio, music and responsible business management.”
Gross (pictured, left) has the unique distinction of having founded and brought to prominence two leading loudspeaker brands, Polk Audio and Definitive Technology. Along with partners Matthew Polk, George Klopfer and Craig Georgi, Gross founded Polk Audio in 1972. His product development collaboration with Matthew Polk produced a string of iconic loudspeakers including the Polk 10 and the SDA Series of stereo-enhancing loudspeakers. Gross’s inspired ad campaigns of that era are still fondly remembered by industry veterans. Featuring a lab coat-clad Matthew Polk the ad campaign launched Polk Audio from a small start-up to an industry leader. Soon after leaving Polk Audio, Gross joined with two Canadian partners to form Definitive Technology in 1988. Sandy’s product and marketing skills built Definitive from a home-based business with one speaker model to arguably the best selling line of high-end home loudspeakers. Gross’ Definitive accomplishments include the first thin wall mount “designed for plasma” Mythos series speakers, the development and popularization of “powered tower” loudspeakers with built-in powered subwoofers and advertising campaigns that drove consumers into retailers like none before.
“Sandy brought me into Polk and years later into Definitive and I count him as the single biggest influence on my professional development. We’re sad to see Sandy go but at the same time we are thrilled for him,” DiComo said. “Sandy’s very passionate about art, jazz, travel, and fine cuisine and now he’ll be able to spend more time on those things instead of negotiating the next ad contract. Frankly I’m jealous.”
Dave Peet said of Gross, “When the history of the audio business is written Sandy’s career will deserve at least three chapters. Who else can match his accomplishments? Who else is as universally loved and respected by all he came in contact with? We’re losing a lion; but Paul and I are determined to carry on Sandy’s vision for Definitive and to make him proud that he chose us as his successors.”