Patagonia on Thursday named Ryan Gellert its new CEO. Gellert will lead Patagonia Works, the parent company of Patagonia, Patagonia Provisions, Patagonia Media, Lost Arrow Solutions, Fletcher Chouinard Designs, Tin Shed Ventures and Worn Wear. Gellert replaces former CEO Rose Marcario, who stepped down in June.
The outdoors retailer also introduced two new executive roles at the company. Jenna Johnson will now be CEO of Patagonia, Inc., which is responsible for Patagonia’s apparel and equipment business.
Patagonia likewise created a new design role: head of innovation, design and merchandising, a role that will be held by Lisa Williams, who has been on Patagonia’s product team since 2001. The position includes Patagonia, Tin Shed Ventures and Worn Wear.
It was a surprise to many retail industry watchers when Marcario stepped down in June, though a company spokesperson at the time said the departure had been in the works since 2019.
Marcario was a powerful figure in Patagonia’s history, responsible for the launch of Patagonia Action Works, and the Time to Vote initiative retailers are signing on to again this year as the elections in November near. In Marcario’s time at the company, Patagonia released several activist marketing campaigns, including its first TV ad and a takeover of its home page in response to environmental actions taken by the Trump administration. More recently, the retailer unveiled an explicitly political clothing tag: “Vote the Assholes Out.”
The retailer also tied its company more directly to environmental responsibility under Marcario, changing its mission statement to: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”
Marcario’s successor, Gellert, is a veteran of the outdoors industry more broadly, and has also overseen Patagonia’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business since 2014. Prior to that, Gellert worked at Black Diamond and also has experience as a legal intern with the ACLU. The company highlighted his international experience and dedication to product and activism as factors in naming him to the role.
“Ryan is the right person with the best experience and leadership approach to guide our company,” Kris Tompkins, Patagonia’s first CEO and a current board member, said in a statement.
Executives also highlighted the multiple “health, economic, social and climate crises” the world is facing right now, and Patagonia’s role in fighting them.
“No one’s expectations of Patagonia are higher than our own,” Gellert said in a statement. “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.”