Outdoor apparel retailer REI names Stritzke as CEO

August 31, 2013 - United States Of America

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) named Jerry Stritzke as the company's president and CEO following an extensive national search.  Stritzke most recently served as president and COO for Coach, a leading American marketer of fine accessories for men and women.  Stritzke brings to REI deep experience in retail operations, the building of lifestyle brands and all aspects of product development and the product supply chain.

"REI's board set high standards in pursuing the company's next CEO," said Board Chair John Hamlin.  "Jerry brings to REI an outstanding record of success in all aspects of specialty retail, particularly brand building, operations, and customer insights.  He possesses strategic vision, he knows how to foster a high-performing executive team, and he has proven skills in navigating the disruptive forces that have become the norm in today's business world.  We are extremely pleased to have attracted an executive of Jerry's ability to lead REI forward."

A CEO Search Committee was chaired by REI Board vice Chair, Cheryl Scott, and included three other board members, including Hamlin.  The search was supported by a leading national executive search firm, and Stritzke was selected from an outstanding group of business leaders interested in the REI role.

"I'm enthusiastic to join REI and work for such an iconic brand and respected employer.  It's a great opportunity for me to combine my professional expertise with the outdoor activities I personally enjoy," said Stritzke.  "REI has earned great success over the years and has a bright future.  It is a strong brand with a rich heritage and an important mission that connects people to the outdoors.  I look forward to working with the talented management team to help the company deliver on its mission, grow profitably, and bring outstanding value to the co-op's members and customers."

As REI's CEO, Stritzke will lead the nation's premier outdoor specialty retailer for human-powered activities.  REI's core offerings include products for camping, hiking, climbing, bicycling, fitness, and paddle and winter sports, and adventure travel trips and classes.

The company operates 130 retail stores in 32 states, and ecommerce sites.  The nation's largest consumer cooperative, REI is owned by its more than five million active members.