Patagonia has selected a new chief executive officer of Patagonia Works: Ryan Gellert. Since 2014, Gellert has overseen Patagonia’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Patagonia Works is the holding company for Patagonia, Inc. (apparel and equipment), Patagonia Provisions (food), Patagonia Media (books, films and multimedia projects), Lost Arrow Solutions (government), Fletcher Chouinard Designs, Inc. (surfboards), Tin Shed Ventures, LLC (investments), and Worn Wear, Inc. (used and upcycled apparel).
“Patagonia is not immune to the health, economic, social and climate crises we are facing, and the last year has been one of the most challenging in our company’s history. But this is our time, and as a company we are prepared to lead and to help citizen activists and businesspeople of conscience create a healthier planet for all life. We are committed to the lifelong work of being better anti-racists and to being more inclusive as we live up to our mission of saving the planet,” said Kris Tompkins, who was Patagonia’s first CEO and currently serves on the company’s board of directors. “Ryan is the right person with the best experience and leadership approach to guide our company. He will be supported by our incredible leadership team, both new and ongoing, and staff of all levels, who have helped make our company what it is today. The work ahead promises to be more important and satisfying than anything we have done so far, and we are beyond excited for what the future holds.”
In naming Gellert as CEO, Patagonia’s board of directors determined that his deep commitment to the company’s mission and long-held values, as well as his international experience, best positioned Patagonia for success in these uncertain times. Further, Gellert’s attentiveness and dedication to seeing others excel, and his passion for Patagonia’s product and activism, made him the right choice for the organization’s next chapter. Since 2014, he has elevated Patagonia to a position of leadership in Europe’s outdoor industry and environmental communities. Prior to his time at Patagonia, Gellert was president of Black Diamond, where he worked for nearly nine years. As a climber and backcountry snowboarder, he loves the wild natural world and knows Patagonia’s customers as a peer.
Patagonia’s board of directors also made two big changes within the leadership team by elevating Jenna Johnson and Lisa Williams to larger roles. Jenna Johnson, who previously led Patagonia’s technical outdoor business, will serve as head of Patagonia, Inc., where she will oversee Patagonia’s apparel and equipment division as the company works to align its business more strongly with its mission and sport communities. With 20 years as an outdoor industry professional, and as a lifelong climber and someone who enjoys biking, running and skiing, she has deep roots in Patagonia’s sport communities.
Lisa Williams, who joined Patagonia’s product team in 2001, will assume a new executive role as head of innovation, design and merchandising. In this role, she will accelerate Patagonia’s mission by leading breakthrough ideas in materials, carbon-capturing business models and design. This elite creative team also includes Tin Shed Ventures and Patagonia’s repair, share and recycle business, Worn Wear. Williams will continue to report to the CEO in this critical new role.
“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity and keenly aware of the responsibility to lead this company in this critical time,” stated Gellert. “No one’s expectations of Patagonia are higher than our own. Everything we do needs to ladder back to our mission of being in business to save our home planet, and we need to do that in a way that is just, equitable and inclusive of all people. Ambitions don’t get much bigger than that. And while there will be more tough days ahead as we challenge norms, I am excited to do the work alongside Patagonia’s talented and passionate professionals. And, I am certain we will also have some fun along the way.”
We’re in business to save our home planet.
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism—and its contributions of more than $110 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.