Recreational Equipment, Inc. has 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, Inc., a marketer of high-end accessories for men and women.
Coach recently announced Stritzke’s resignation, effective September 2, 2013. Stritzke joined Coach in 2008 and helped guide the company through the recession years while profitably increasing sales from $2.6 to $5.1 billion. The company’s sales include global revenues from retail, e-commerce, and wholesale divisions.
“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.”
A CEO Search Committee was chaired by REI Board Vice Chair, Cheryl Scott, and included three other board members, including Hamlin.
“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.
Prior to joining Coach, Stritzke had an eight-year career with Limited Brands, the parent company of retail units that include Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, La Senza, and Henri Bendel. The company also owns Mast Industries, an apparel importer. Stritzke began his career at the Limited Brands in 1999 as the senior vice president of operations. He then became the CEO of Mast Industries and oversaw all aspects of the apparel production and sourcing company. In 2006, Stritzke became Co-Leader and COO of Victoria’s Secret. In that role, he oversaw the daily operations of more than 1,000 retail stores, and his managerial responsibilities included product development, supply chain, distribution, and the company’s brand growth strategies.
Stritzke is trained as an attorney and worked in private practice before transitioning to a consulting firm specializing in retail. In addition to his executive experience, Stritzke has served on the board of apparel company lululemon atheletica for the past 14 months.
Stritzke will join REI on October 1 as the seventh president in REI’s 75-year history. He replaces former President and CEO, Sally Jewell, who left the company in April when she was confirmed as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to serving as the company’s CEO, he also will serve as a member of the co-op’s board of directors.