July 1, 2020, 2:08 p.m. EDT

Worldwise: Co-CEO of the McIntosh Group Jeff Poggi’s Favorite Things at Home

In 2017, Jeff Poggi was named co-CEO of the McIntosh Group, the parent company of some of the world’s finest audio product producers (the group was previously known as the Fine Sounds Group). The brands under its ownership include Sonus faber , McIntosh, Sumiko , and Audio Research, one of the oldest continually operating American audio product manufacturers. 

Poggi, 50, boasts over two decades in the industry, with previous stints at Harman International and the Bose Corporation. The self-described “small town farm boy” is particularly well-known for his work in luxury car audio systems, which he leads at the New York-based McIntosh Group. At Bose, Poggi managed the General Motors account and also oversaw car audio at Harman, where he worked with BMW, Toyota , and Volvo. He joined the McIntosh Group after Harman was bought out by Samsung.

The McIntosh Group’s products are for serious audiophiles. One of the most popular sells put out by Audio Research, for example, the REF6SE line stage preamplifier, retails for $17,000. 

Penta reached out to Poggi to hear what other things a person with impeccable listening tastes appreciates. 

The best book I’ve read in the last year is… Start With Why , by Simon Sinek. I would strongly recommend it. Simon has a great writing style. His ability to connect our modern behaviors to biology, brain structure, and evolutionary traits of early man is fantastic. 

A new routine I’ve developed while staying at home outside Boston is… to read, work, and exercise daily. The lock-in has been good for my physical and mental health. I have been waking up at 5 a.m. and reading each morning to give the brain a mental workout. Then, I spend the day tied to my desk with video meetings and calls throughout the day. I feel communicating with our global staff around the world is critical in this time of social distancing. I end the day with an hour workout.

The one thing in my kitchen I can’t live without is… my Nespresso machine. I’ve been happily addicted to coffee since I was 16 years old. Now the Nespresso has become an addiction with so many flavors and styles of coffee to choose from. My go to is a Double Espresso Scurro.

How I stay Zen while sheltering at home is… to enjoy the quiet time with my family. I typically travel 20 days per month for work and have been doing this for many years. So having 14 weeks of home time has been very relaxing in many ways. I think it is important to focus on controlling what you can and not get caught up in trying to control the uncontrollable.  

What I’m listening to is… a little bit of everything. Music for me is very emotional and tied to a state-of-mind. For my daily workouts, I go to ’80s classic rock, which gives me lots of energy: AC/DC, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses. For background listening during the workday its Eric Clapton , Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen , U2, Alicia Keys , Joe Bonamassa , Adele , Van Morrison , or Bonnie Raitt . In the evenings, it is usually jazz or blues. I was recently introduced to Kamasi Washington who is a great jazz saxophonist. The classics like Coltrane, Miles Davis , Sonny Rollins are always on rotation.

A passion of mine that few people know about is… that I love tabletop games, specifically, strategy games and roll-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. I enjoy the quality time with family and friends, the creativity, storytelling, imagination, and problem-solving. It has been a great way to stay close and connected to my two boys, and all their friends, as they grow up. Being the Dungeon Master for a group of teenagers is a fantastic experience!

The thing that gets me up in the morning is… the excitement of a new day and the new possibilities that come with it. I am very optimistic and always seeking new ways to help our teams improve our businesses. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a new prototype come together and the pride on the team’s face when they first realize how wonderful of a product they have created. Or when you read a glowing review in the press of a new product which helps validate that the past two years of effort have been well worth it.

The person who has inspired me to do what I do is… my mom. She worked long hours on the night shift as a single parent to provide for my sister and I as we grew up. She had an amazingly strong moral compass that pointed us in the right direction and a work ethic that was second to none. And she instilled the strong sense of family in us that keeps us a close-knit family to this day.

If we weren’t social distancing right now and I could grab a drink with anyone, anywhere, it would be… to have a nice glass of Valpolicella Amarone at the Glam Boutique Hotel in Vicenza, Italy, with the entire Sonus faber team. It has been four months since I’ve been able to see the team in Italy and I miss them very much. Northern Italy has been ravaged by the Covid-19 virus, and our team has been so strong and resilient throughout this period.    

The one thing I’m doing more of now to get through this difficult time is… remaining thankful for all the good fortune that surrounds us. Yes, it is a difficult time for many reasons—the virus, divisive politics, and a faltering economy are all reasons for stress. However, I feel we must stay positive and focus on doing good each and every day. We will get through the difficulties and those with a positive mindset will prevail in the end.  

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