Undercover Boss: Founder and CEO of GSI Commerce: Where are They Now?
Michael Rubin, founder and CEO of GSI Commerce, accidentally injures one of his employees and then gets fired from one of his jobs while undercover at his own company.
Company Name: GSI Commerce
Undercover Boss: Michael Rubin
Are They Still There?: No!
From the time he was 12 years old, Michael Rubin’s first love has been business. This passion helped Michael become one of the youngest CEOs when he founded GSI Commerce in 1995. As stated during this episode of “Undercover Boss,” GSI Commerce is a billion-dollar eCommerce giant that sells products online and handles shipping for many important retailers. Mr. Rubin said that any customer who shops online likely had used GSI Commerce without even realizing it!
As a fast-paced business with lots of competition, this CEO has become a bit of a workaholic who never seems to find time to rest, even to spend time with his wife and young daughter. But now that the holidays were approaching, it seemed like the right time to do something different. CEO Rubin estimated that GSI earns around 70% of its profits for the year during the peak season, which takes place during the holidays. It’s also the most stressful time of year for the company, which makes it the perfect time for Michael Rubin to go undercover on “Undercover Boss.” By evaluating the company while it’s under maximum stress, Michael would be able to evaluate how his employees were doing and if current systems and protocols actually worked when it matters most. So, the founder and CEO of GSI Commerce traded in his fancy corporate office to pose as a new recruit named Gary Rogers.
Job #1:GSI Fulfillment Center in Richmond
During the holidays, GSI Commerce has to hire around 5,000 seasonal employees to keep up with demand and Michael wanted an opportunity to see what it was like to work at GSI Commerce through the eyes of one of these temporary workers. So, Michael begins his week on “Undercover Boss” at a busy fulfillment center in Richmond, Kentucky where he gets to work with a seasonal employee named Rashelle.
Under Rashelle’s supervision, Michael learns how to load a delivery truck and sort packages. The job is much more difficult and physically taxing than he expected, and in his tired state, Michael even hits Rashelle in the face with a package by accident. Thankfully, Rashelle isn’t injured and brushes off the incident like a champ. At the end of his shift, Michael leaves with a good taste in his mouth because he’s impressed by Rashelle’s work ethic and the ideas she had to improve the efficiency of the company.
Job #2: GSI Call Center in Florida
In addition to handling online orders and shipping for major retailers, GSI Commerce also oversees customer service needs. GSI has call centers where customers can call in for assistance, where Michael says they receive more than 20 million calls a year. Therefore, it’s important for him to see what it’s really like to work on the call center floor.
Michael begins his shift with Adam, a kind escalations operator who is wonderful at his job. Adam is great at calming disgruntled customers down and providing satisfactory solutions. During their lunch break, Adam tells Michael that he started working for GSI Commerce years ago after the sudden death of his baby daughter. When he didn’t come to work due to her death, his old job fired him. Despite this tragedy, Adam still maintains a positive outlook in life and hopes he will be able to afford to marry his fiancée soon.
Unfortunately, Michael’s shift takes a turn for the worse after Adam passes him off to Danielle. Michael is infuriated by Danielle’s bad attitude on the phone with a customer. Instead of trying to find a solution that makes the customer happy, Danielle seemed more concerned with proving she was right. Michael was so angry that he almost blew his cover and fired Danielle on the spot!
Job #3: Back to the GSI Fulfillment Center in Richmond
In his third job, Michael returns to the fulfillment center to learn how to be a single-line packer. This is a very intense, fast-paced job where single-line packers are evaluated on how fast they can pack and ship. Since faster speeds equate to higher profits, single line packers who can’t work fast enough are sent on their way.
Michael, still disguised as Gary, happens to be one of those employees who just can’t keep up with the fast pace. Despite having a great trainer named Shannon, Michael just can’t go fast enough and makes too many mistakes on where he places the package labels. He ends up getting fired from this entry-level job in his own company! Michael said it was very embarrassing and he had never been fired before in his life.
However, Michael was still grateful for the experience and the time he got to spend with Shannon. He enjoyed hearing about her two sons and their love for football. He was also impressed by how hard Shannon works. Shannon told him she works seven days a week, volunteers in her free time, and takes care of her kids, always giving her all.
Job #4: Nightshift at the Warehouse
Thankfully, Michael’s final job during his week on “Undercover Boss” ends on a positive note. This is largely due to the time he got to spend with an inspirational man named Cameron. When Michael arrives for a night shift at the warehouse, he is expecting to learn how to work as a picker. The pickers are employees who work overnight to fill and pack online orders. It’s not the most fun job in the world, but Cameron shows that the people you are doing it with make all the difference. Cameron and Michael even have a friendly race to see who can do the job fastest, which Cameron wins.
But Cameron’s story is what really inspired Michael. Mr. Rubin gets to meet Cameron’s young daughter when she visits during break and is fascinated by the special bond shared between the father and child. Cameron tells Michael how everything he does is for his daughter and shares how he was a homeless teen and didn’t have a father there for him. Despite everything he’s been through, Cameron chooses to turn negatives into positives. His attitude inspires Michael to be more positive and to spend more time with his own daughter.
The Big Reveal:
As Michael returns to his normal duties as founder and CEO of GSI Commerce, he reflects on all the ways his undercover experience has impacted his life. Michael not only gained valuable insights into how to support his employees with better systems and training, but he also learned the importance of making time for family and living a balanced life. Now that it’s time for the big reveal, this CEO can’t wait to share what he learned from his time on “Undercover Boss.”
Michael’s reveal to Rashelle might have been one of the funniest to ever air on “Undercover Boss.” Once Michael revealed his identity, Rashelle jokingly asked if she was fired and if he was sore after loading the truck with her. All jokes aside, Michael wanted Rashelle to know that his time with her was very eye-opening. He learned a lot about what it was like for temporary employees to work for GSI Commerce. He was also so impressed by Rashelle’s work ethic and ideas for improvement that he personally offered her a full-time job with benefits at GSI Commerce, which was something she really wanted.
When Adam came into Michael’s office, he was met with praise and compliments. Michael wanted Adam to know that he was blown away by how well Adam does his job. He also told Adam that the story of his daughter’s death broke his heart, and he wanted to give Adam something happy to look forward to in the future. So, Michael gave Adam $10,000 to put toward his dream wedding.
Unfortunately for Danielle, her meeting with the big boss was less pleasant. Michael confronted Danielle on her bad attitude with customers on the phone at the call center and told her the behavior was unacceptable. Danielle accepted the criticism and expressed a desire to improve. It appears that while Danielle did undergo more customer service training, she left the company soon after this “Undercover Boss” episode was filmed.
Michael’s meeting with Shannon ended in tears, but these were tears of joy. Michael told Shannon how impressed he was by how hard she works and donated $5,000 to her sons’ football leagues.
Last but not least, Michael reveals to Cameron that he isn’t really Gary Rogers. Michael compliments Cameron for his great energy and for being a wonderful father. Michael wanted more people at GSI Commerce to be like Cameron so he puts the picker into a fast-track program to become a supervisor. He also gives Cameron $1,000 to help him check off every item on his daughter’s Christmas wish list.
Where is Michael Rubin, Owner and CEO of GSI Commerce, now?
Even if CEO Michael Rubin wanted to stay at GSI Commerce, it’s not an option for this boss. GSI Commerce was sold to eBay and is now known as eBay Enterprise. The current CEO of eBay is Jamie Iannone and Mr. Rubin isn’t involved with this particular business.
That said, Michael has certainly been keeping himself busy with other ventures. According to his Linkedin, this prolific businessman is the founder and current CEO of another internet business called Kynetic. He is also a chairman of four other companies, which are Fanatics, Inc., REFORM Alliance, Rue La La, and ShopRunner. As if this wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Michael Rubin is a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
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