Tasia Malakasis named to head Chattanooga's CO.LAB

Tasia Malakasis, an author, Silicon Valley tech advisor and former head of an award-winning goat cheese company in rural Alabama, has been selected as the Company Lab's new CEO.

Malakasis, who succeeds Lindsey Cox as head of the Chattanooga nonprofit organization that works to promote local startup businesses, has held key roles in high-growth tech and consumer packaged goods companies, most recently successfully scaling her own goat cheese company, Belle Chevre, which she ran for nearly 16 years.

"As a serial entrepreneur, there is nothing more exciting to me than the potential for rapid-fire growth and expansion," she said in an announcement of her new appointment. "And I cannot think of a more opportune time to be involved with all of the excitement brimming in Chattanooga for startups."

Malakasis is the second female CEO in the 11-year history of CO.LAB and will replace Cox in her new role starting July 11. Cox led CO.LAB for the past year and recently took a job as CEO of LaunchTN in Nashville.

Malakasis is also author of two cookbooks, "Tasia's Table" and "Southern Made Fresh," the latter of which was produced in collaboration with Southern Living magazine. She was recently named by Southern Living as one of the top 50 people changing the South.

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In addition to understanding how to build a business, Malakasis brings keen marketing and branding acumen to the role. Under Malakasis' leadership, national media outlets, including oprah.com, "Today" and Forbes showcased Belle Chevre.

CO.LAB Chairman Charlie Brock, a former head of both CO.LAB and LaunchTN, headed an eight-member search committee that selected Malakasis after a monthslong process.

"As CO.LAB looks to attract and support more scalable companies, as well as market the organization regionally and even nationally, we were looking for a leader who could help fulfill this mission," Brock said. "We feel fortunate to have attracted Tasia's interest, and we look forward to supporting her and the entire staff as we take CO.LAB to the next level."

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Cox said she's leaving The Company Lab in accomplished hands and is looking forward to working with Malakasis through LaunchTN.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Tasia to Tennessee's entrepreneurial ecosystem and to work with her to continue growing the startup economy for our state," Cox said. "Chattanooga has endless potential, and Tasia and the CO.LAB team are well positioned to take the organization to the next level."

- Compiled by Dave Flessner