Steve Hooper: Announcing Eric Artz as REI’s President and CEO

The co-op has a new president and CEO. REI Board Chairman Steve Hooper shared the news Monday evening at the co-op’s annual member meeting that Eric Artz will be the eighth CEO in the co-op’s history, effective immediately.

Hooper also sent the following letter to REI Co-op employees. 

REI employees,

I’m Steve Hooper, chair of the REI board of directors. I’m writing with exciting news from Washington, D.C., here at the beautiful REI flagship store, where we are hosting our annual member meeting with employees, members, nonprofit leaders and people from the local community.

The board and I are thrilled to announce Eric Artz as the next president and CEO of REI, effective immediately. He will serve as the eighth CEO in our 81-year history.

One of the most important jobs we as board members have is to choose the best leader for the future of REI. And it is clear to us that the best person for the job is already leading the co-op.

We want to emphasize that selecting Eric to be the next leader of REI was a carefully considered decision and a thorough process. REI plays a central role in the health of the outdoors and the outdoor and retail industries. That’s why, over the past three months, we met with and considered leaders from some of the most recognized companies in the world.

Eric was and is the clear choice.

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 and the responsibility of all REI employees to protect the environment.

His leadership is defined by service—to the co-op, to our employees and to our members. In his seven years at REI, Eric has served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He’s led our teams in retail, digital, strategy, supply-chain and IT. Before REI, he held leadership roles at Urban Outfitters and spent 17 years at VF Corporation (which includes brands like The North Face, Smartwool and Timberland).

He is vice chairman of the board of the Outdoor Industry Association and sits on the board of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in Washington state. He is also an advisor to EarthLab, part of the University of Washington’s College of the Environment.

His connection with the outdoors began in rural Pennsylvania, where he grew up. He’s an Army veteran who has traveled and worked all over the world. Today, you’ll find Eric and his family—his wife, his two daughters and his dog Chet—spending time outside in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Eric would like me to share his appreciation for you. REI is only as strong as the people who choose to be part of this longstanding organization, which exists to serve REI members and the outdoors. We would like to thank you, our 13,000 employees, for your dedication. Your tireless efforts are why REI is healthy today.

Please keep fighting for life outdoors.

Steve Hooper