The board of directors of REI Co-op, a popular Seattle-based outdoor-apparel retailer, has named a new president and chief executive officer, although he’s not new to the company at all
Eric Artz, who has served as interim CEO of REI since former president and CEO Jerry Stritzke’s resignation this past February, is now dropping the interim title and stepping into the role of president and CEO at REI. He becomes the eighth individual to serve as CEO in the co-op’s 81-year history.
“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 been with REI for seven years, previously serving as chief operating officer prior to that as chief financial officer. The Kent-based retailer recorded earnings of $47.1 million on revenues of $2.78 billion in 2018, investing more than $8 million into nonprofit organizations around the country. The co-op has recorded year-over-year revenue growth every year since 2003.
The co-op — which has some 18 million members — will continue to focus on making an impact in the communities it serves, according to Artz. To that end, REI will continue to connect new people with the outdoors. The company in 2019 expects to cross the $100 million mark in philanthropic giving.
“Our purpose at REI — our reason for being — is to awaken a lifelong love for the outdoors, for all,” Artz says. “Because if we can't help people to be connected with nature, how can we expect them to care for the long-term health of the planet?”