REI Board of Directors Names Unmacht Interim CEO

Mar 13, 2013

The Board of Directors of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has named Brian Unmacht the co-op’s Interim CEO. 

REI’s sitting CEO, Sally Jewell, has been engaged in the confirmation process to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.  The REI board decided that an Interim CEO provides definitive executive accountability during Jewell’s absence through the confirmation process and also establishes interim leadership if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  If Jewell is confirmed, the REI board will conduct a national search for the next CEO.

Unmacht has enjoyed a 27-year career at REI, most recently serving as EVP and COO.  As COO, Unmacht has overseen the company’s operating divisions and its Information Technology group.  In his role as Interim CEO, Unmacht will have the company’s Retail, Digital Retail, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Legal and Corporate Affairs groups reporting to him. 

In addition to naming Unmacht Interim CEO, the board has named Eric Artz the co-op’s Interim COO, reporting to Unmacht.  Artz, who is currently REI’s CFO, joined REI in 2012 bringing strong skills in finance, operations, supply chain and retail, including a deep background in outdoor industry brands.  In addition to overseeing the Finance and Marketing divisions, Artz, as Interim COO, will oversee Merchandising, REI Private Brands, and the Supply Chain.

Jewell has been REI’s CEO since 2005.  She was elected to the REI Board of Directors in 1996.  In 2000 she left the board to become the co-op’s COO and served in that role until her promotion to CEO.  She was nominated for Interior Secretary on February 6 by President Obama to replace current Secretary Ken Salazar.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 19 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 167 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company, a global leader that runs more than 250 itineraries across all continents. In every community where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.