Industry News 3/15/2013

EMP: REI Board of Directors Names Brian Unmacht Interim CEO

REI Board of Directors Names Brian Unmacht Interim CEO

SEATTLE – The Board of Directors of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has named Brian Unmacht the co-op’s Interim CEO.

REI’s sitting CEO, Sally Jewell, has been engaged in the confirmation process to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. The REI board decided that an Interim CEO provides definitive executive accountability during Jewell’s absence through the confirmation process and also establishes interim leadership if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If Jewell is confirmed, the REI board will conduct a national search for the next CEO.

Unmacht has enjoyed a 27-year career at REI, most recently serving as EVP and COO. As COO, Unmacht has overseen the company’s operating divisions and its Information Technology group. In his role as Interim CEO, Unmacht will have the company’s Retail, Digital Retail, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Legal and Corporate Affairs groups reporting to him.

In addition to naming Unmacht Interim CEO, the board has named Eric Artz the co-op’s Interim COO, reporting to Unmacht. Artz, who is currently REI’s CFO, joined REI in 2012 bringing strong skills in finance, operations, supply chain and retail, including a deep background in outdoor industry brands.  In addition to overseeing the Finance and Marketing divisions, Artz, as Interim COO, will oversee Merchandising, REI Private Brands, and the Supply Chain.

Jewell has been REI’s CEO since 2005. She was elected to the REI Board of Directors in 1996. In 2000 she left the board to become the co-op’s COO and served in that role until her promotion to CEO. She was nominated for Interior Secretary on February 6 by President Obama to replace current Secretary Ken Salazar.

About REI
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.  Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.