REI stepped outside the industry in naming former Coach executive Jerry Stritzke as its new CEO over Labor Day weekend.
Strizke replaces Sally Jewell, who left the position earlier this year to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. His first day on the job will be Oct. 1.
While Strizke will be new to the outdoor industry, he is no stranger to the retail and lifestyle markets. At Coach, he served as chief operating officer of the high-end handbag and accessories maker and also previously worked with Limited Brands in executive roles at apparel importer Mast Industries and Victoria Secret, where he oversaw the latter’s daily retail store operations, product development and supply chain.
REI officials said Stritzke’s success in specialty retail — particularly brand building, operations and customer insight — made him the best choice for the nation’s largest outdoor retail chain, which now has 130 locations in 32 states.
“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,” REI Board Chair John Hamlin said in a statement.
Off the job, Stritzke is an outdoor enthusiast — hiking, fly fishing and rafting. “Each year he has a goal of summiting one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks,” officials said.