REI Co-op’s board of directors named Eric Artz as president and CEO, effective immediately. He is the eighth person to serve as CEO in the co-op’s 81-year history, having served as interim CEO since February 2019.
Board chair Steve Hooper shared the news with hundreds of co-op members, employees, nonprofit leaders and community members at the co-op’s annual member meeting Monday evening, held at its flagship store in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
“After a thorough national search, it was clear to us that the best person for the job was already leading the co-op,” Hooper said. “To his core, Eric believes in the purpose and impact of the co-op. Anyone who knows him well will tell you that above all, he cares deeply about the power of the outdoors to bring people together.”
Artz has served REI for seven years. He joined REI in 2012 as chief financial officer and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2014. In his tenure at REI, he has overseen departments including digital retail, finance, corporate strategy, and IT. Before REI, he held leadership roles at Urban Outfitters and spent 17 years at VF Corporation. He is vice chairman of the board of the Outdoor Industry Association and sits on the board of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in Washington State. He is also an advisor to Earth Lab, part of the University of Washington’s College of the Environment.
In remarks given at the member meeting, Artz underscored the co-op’s commitment to putting purpose before profit, getting more people outdoors, operating sustainably, protecting and creating access to outdoor places and uniting people in local communities from the District of Columbia to Washington state. He emphasized that the co-op will redouble its effort to connect new people with the outdoors, highlighting that in 2019 REI will cross the $100 million mark in philanthropic giving.
Artz and his leadership team take on a healthy business. The co-op recently reported earnings of $2.78 billion in 2018, and has reported year-over-year growth in revenues every year since 2003.