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Andy Zimmerman steps away from Legacy Paddlesports

Andy Zimmerman has decided it is time for him to "pursue other opportunities" and has departed from Legacy, the company he helped launch. SNEWS talked with Zimmerman and interim CEO Bill Medlin to get the inside scoop.

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Andy Zimmerman, who helped found Legacy Paddlesports (, has decided to step down as CEO and leave the company. Legacy COO and now interim CEO Bill Medlin told SNEWS® that Zimmerman would retain his share of ownership in Legacy, but would no longer be a member of the board or involved in any other way.

Zimmerman co-founded Greensboro, N.C.-based Legacy with Hol Whitney after the acquisition of Whitney’s company Heritage Kayaks in 2006 (click here to read the SNEWS story on the launch of Legacy).

We asked Zimmerman what spurred the change after five years at the helm, and what his plans for the future were.

“I am going to focus more on fitness and well being,” Zimmerman said. “I turn 55 this year, and when I turned 50, I climbed Half Dome. I have my sights set on maybe El Cap this year, and that will require a lot of fitness and focus and I want to dedicate to that.”

Zimmerman pointed out that for the previous three weeks, he has not been going into the office and yet he’s been busier than ever. He told us that while he has an ownership interest in Get:Outdoors (formerly Pro Canoe and Kayak) (click to read our 2002 story “Confluence sells Pro Canoe and Kayak interest to Zimmerman” ) as well as ownership interest in several commercial properties, he’s not been able to attend to those things as he would like to or should in recent years. “It’s time to turn my attentions to these things too,” said Zimmerman.

He will remain involved with the Paddle Council and, Zimmerman says, “hopefully continue to help guide the paddlesports industry in a positive direction.” In addition, Zimmerman is a member of the board of Heroes on the Water.

As for Legacy, it remains business as usual, with no plans at this time to begin a search for a permanent CEO.

“We very much like the open, collaborative manner in which our primary group of five stakeholders acts as a management group,” Medlin told us. “And for those times the company needs a public face, I am there to serve in that function. Frankly, our focus will be forward on looking to bring in the next generation who will be running this show after the old gray-beards get out of the way.”

Leading Legacy forward will be: Medlin; Shane Benedict, vice president design; Woody Callaway, vice president marketing; Mike Hooks, vice president sales; Byron Phillips, vice president product development. All have been with Legacy either since the company launched or since it Legacy merged with Liquid Logic, and each retains an ownership share of the company.

The majority owners of Legacy – the former owners of Liquid Logic – are Boyce Greer and Dwight Churchill, and although both are passionate paddlers, neither is involved in the day-to-day operations Medlin told us. Whitney’s shares were bought out shortly after Greer and Churchill joined the company in 2007.

–Michael Hodgson