Four Winds Co-Founder David Levin Stepping Down As CEO Of Company Now Known As Poppulo

December 15, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Big news out of Denver as David Levin, the longtime CEO and co-founder of Four Winds Interactive (now known as Poppulo), is stepping down from that role.

Counter to some rumors out there, Levin said the decision was his and that he helped recruit his replacement, Ruth Fornell, who starts Monday. Levin will stick around the office to smooth the hand-off, and buddy-call in the new year as Fornell gets acquianted with some whale customers like Delta Airlines. Levin retains a seat on the board.

Fornell’s background is executive roles at NCR for many years, and more recently the COO of Atlanta-based Sovos, which offers an “IT-driven response to compliance.”

Please don’t ask me what that means …

The CFO for Poppulo is also leaving, at the end of the month, but he was an interim CFO and the new person starts in January.

Here is the press release on the announcement …

Four Winds was merged with the Irish workplace communications software company Poppulo about 2.5 years ago, with the companies settling on Poppulo as the go-forward brand. The companies were put together by their Austin-based private equity owners, Vista Equity Partners.

Levin co-founded Four Winds way, way back in 2005, at first doing interactive music sampling stations. In the early days, the company offset operating costs by renting out the old mansion they used as offices as a wedding venue on weekends, hauling equipment into the basement and taking other gear home to make way for the weddings.

From that modest start it grew with time to almost 700 people in the blended entity, operating out of Cork, Ireland and Denver.

In recent years, Four Winds/Poppulo shifted from a general offer aimed at all kinds of use cases, to one mainly focused on workplace communications.

Earlier this year, in May, Poppulo trimmed its workforce by 12.5 percent. Those cuts affected 53 people in the US, 21 in Ireland (where the Poppulo side of the business was started), and 11 in an office north of London.

He’s a good, smart guy and he had a very long run in that role. There are some small companies who have the same person in charge the whole time, but much larger companies tend to see leadership changes with more frequency.

Levin and I chatted for about 20 minutes today, with him at the Poppulo offices. He said the decision was very much his own, and that 18 years was indeed a good long run. He joked he was looking forward to just going to board meetings, instead of doing the mountain of work needed to prepare for board meetings as CEO.

He’s happy with where the company is at now, though he concedes blending the technology, people and cultures of companies in Colorado and Cork ain’t easy or fast. But now Poppulo has clients who are using the full-meal deal – with integrated, seamless communications across channels that range from e-mails to video walls.

“We started as Four Winds Interactive just over 18 years ago, and leading the company since the start has been an incredibly meaningful part of my life,” says Levin. “This journey has been rewarding and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people along the way- both our teams and our customers. Ruth is an extraordinary leader and a perfect fit for Poppulo. I’m excited to welcome and support her as she leads the journey going forward.”

He’s not entirely sure what he will be doing next, though he will give his brother a hand with his company … and maybe do another start-up down the road.

  1. craig keefner says:

    He was in my office in 2005 pitching the rotating music cards. He took it a very long way. Final offices in Denver were/are extremely nice. Total integration of messaging, wayfinding, scheduling, etc. Thanks for the update Dave. I’ll end up talking to David.

  2. Jeremy Gavin says:

    Congratulations David on a long journey. Fun to have met you in the early days.

  3. Brandon Harp says:

    David was a true visionary in the digital signage space and his contributions to the industry are extremely impactful. He gave me my start in this business and I’m forever grateful! Cheers to whatever is next for you David!

  4. Diahanna says:

    Wishing you the best David! You created an amazing company and product that I enjoyed using and selling. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  5. Brad Gleeson says:

    I had the opportunity to visit their offices in Denver and meet with David in my Planar/Coolsign days, back when they were doing the big annual meeting and open house. I was always impressed by their team and especially by the great work they did with Mercy Ships. Best of luck David.

  6. Mark Meheney says:

    Classic! He called to let you know he was leaving on his own to spend more time with family??

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