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Patagonia CEO to Step Down Friday

Patagonia president and CEO Rose Marcario is stepping down from her role Friday after 12 years with the company.

“She was instrumental in leading the company through the most prosperous time in its 47-year history, and she has been recognized by global leaders for her success in advocating and advancing climate and environmental policies,” Patagonia said in a statement Thursday.

The surprise move it seems, was not prompted by any recent events, though it may have been spurred by them.

“We have been planning my succession since late last year and believe now is the right time for the next-generation team to step in to reimagine the business for a bright future,” Marcario said in an exclusive with Fast Company. “Patagonia is in great hands, and on a path for 100 years of success.”

Founder Yvon Chouinard said Patagonia had been set to transition to new leadership at the end of the year, but changing times seem to have changed the timing.

“When this pandemic hit, and the focus quickly turned to reimagining the company for the future, Rose felt the team that would carry our work forward should lead this transformation,” he told Fast Company.

Patagonia president and CEO Rose Marcario is stepping down from her role Friday after 12 years with the sustainable outdoor apparel firm.
Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario, middle, pictured in 2015. She’s stepping down on June 12, 2020, after more than a decade with the eco-first outdoor apparel maker. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

During her tenure with Patagonia, Marcario helped establish the company as a leader in the Benefit Corporation movement, which sets out to expand priorities beyond profit, to people and the planet. She spearheaded Outdoor Retailer’s move from Utah to Colorado to “leverage brand strength for conservation goals,” and she oversaw the company’s lawsuit against President Trump for attempting to significantly reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, including Bears Ears. Marcario also helped start organic food company Patagonia Provisions, focused on changing how the world grows its food, she founded an in-house venture fund and developed Patagonia Action Works, a digital hub for environmental activists.

“Rose has grown our advocacy efforts in ways I could never have imagined,” Chouinard said in a company statement. “With Rose at the helm, we are leading an overdue revolution in agriculture, challenging this administration’s evil environmental rollbacks, growing a movement to increase voter participation in our elections and raising the bar on building our product in the most responsible manner possible.”

The transition from Marcario’s leadership will be led by Patagonia chief operating officer, Doug Freeman.

“We will be sharing more updates as we build on our accomplishments, values and plan for the future with the intent on saving the home planet,” the company said.