British Columbia

CEO of outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op to step down

David Labistour announced Tuesday he would resign as CEO of the Vancouver-based outdoor equipment retail chain. He will stay in his current role until June.

David Labistour to resign in June after 11 years at helm of Vancouver-based outdoor retailer

Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO David Labistour announced Tuesday he would leave his position in June 2019. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

After 11 years at the top of the mountain, MEC's leader is ready to climb down.

David Labistour announced Tuesday he would resign as CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Vancouver-based outdoor equipment retail chain.

He said the company is completing "a significant cycle of development" involving new technology, new product offerings and a general re-investment in the brand.

"I believe the end of this cycle is the right time for me to hand the baton over to someone else," Labistour said. "It's sort of a bittersweet thing to step away and hand it over to someone else."

The departure will not take effect until June 2019, he said, in order for the board to hire his replacement.

In a statement, MEC said during Labistour's time as CEO, the co-op had grown from 2.7 million to 5.1 million members, seen 11 new stores open and developed events programming focused on physical outdoor activity.

This year, Labistour and MEC faced a tough decision about stocking products connected to a U.S. company that sells guns and ammunition. MEC ultimately decided to stop selling the items.

Labistour was in the media last month criticizing the "very white" outdoor retail sector for not being diverse enough in its workforce or its marketing, after MEC was itself called out online by a Vancouver customer.

Since then, MEC has partnered with a more diverse array of "ambassador" athletes for the brand and Labistour committed to hiring more diverse employees.

"Diversity and making sure we're relevant to the demographic communities we're in is part of this way forward, and we're committed to it," he said.

Labistour said he wouldn't speculate on what's next but added: "Certainly, I have another career in me."


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