Focal Systems Announces Kevin H. Johnson as new CEO

SAN FRANCISCO, April 02, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Focal Systems, the leader in AI applications for retail operations, today announced the appointment of Kevin H. Johnson as CEO, effective April 2, 2024. Founding CEO, Francois Chaubard, will transition to the role of CTO to focus his attention on the science of deep learning in retail.

“I am thrilled to join Francois and the team as they deploy the most advanced AI solutions to brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Johnson. “Focal Systems already drives significant ROI for its customers by reducing operating costs, improving product availability, and optimizing mix. I look forward to expanding Focal’s services and reach globally.”

“We are fortunate to add a leader with Kevin’s proven and extensive retail technology experience. I am confident he will help us drive even more customer value, expand the applications and benefits of digitizing the store, and improve our ability to scale with our partners,” said Chaubard. “We’ve built something special at Focal and are excited to welcome Kevin who understands our vision, mission, and shares our commitment to help retailers worldwide.”

Greg Sands, Managing Partner of Costanoa Ventures, added, “We support Francois’ decision to pass the baton to Kevin. We are elated with the progress Francois and Focal made in developing and deploying the most cutting edge AI solution on the market these past nine years. We expect Focal to expand even farther and faster now with Kevin at the helm.”

Johnson is a veteran CEO who has spent over thirty years starting, growing and transforming business globally. He was previously CEO of Udemy, the leading global marketplace for learning and instruction. Prior to Udemy, Johnson grew Ebates (now from a pioneering cash back shopping startup into the dominant performance marketer for retailers in North America. He also held leadership roles at Acxiom/Digital Impact providing integrated digital marketing solutions via a proprietary technology platform for Global 2000 enterprises. Johnson started his professional career as an investment banker and entrepreneur, helping launch The GulfStar Group, an investment bank headquartered in Texas and then as a Management Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. He holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and BA from the University of California at Berkeley.

About Focal Systems
Founded in 2015 in San Francisco out of Stanford’s Computer Vision Lab, Focal Systems is the industry leader in retail automation. Our mission is to automate and optimize brick and mortar retail with state-of-the-art deep learning and AI. We have pioneered the world’s first “Self-Driving Store”- an OS that revolutionizes how stores are run. Focal has scaled AI-powered solutions on three continents in hundreds of stores, with over 100,000 cameras deployed. Learn more at:

About Costanoa Ventures
Founded in 2012, Costanoa Ventures partners with builders as early as company formation, with a focus on apps and infrastructure in data, dev, and fintech. Costanoa is a long-term partner to entrepreneurs who want hands-on help in their earliest company stages on all things go-to-market and talent. For more information, please visit

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