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Volcom shakes up leadership

Local skate, snow and surf brand names new CEO; cofounder to take new role

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: December 17, 2012 01:30 PM

Costa Mesa-based youth apparel and sport brand Volcom is reorganizing its leadership, naming cofounder and current CEO Richard Woolcott to the newly created role of executive chairman. Jason Steris, the surf, skate and board brand’s current president, will take on the role of chief executive officer. Both men will step into their new roles on Jan. 1, 2013.

Volcom was founded in 1991 by Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall, and conceived during a snowboarding trip to Tahoe. From those humble beginnings and $5,000 in seed funding, the company grew into an international retail brand.

Steris, who has also served as the company’s chief operating officer, and prior to that, national sales manager, first joined the company as a sales representative in Southern California in 1993. Woolcott described Steris as an “outstanding colleague, business partner and friend” and credited his “immense contribution” in Volcom’s growth.

"I have absolutely every confidence he will continue to excel as he takes the reins as CEO and president to help steer the company to its next level of success,” Woolcott said.

Woolcott has served as president and CEO from the company’s founding until 2008, when he swapped his role as president for the position of chairman. He led the company during its steady period of national and international growth in the 1990s and oversaw the company’s IPO in 2005.

"[Woolcott] is an inspiration to many of us, and we will continue to benefit from his guiding enthusiasm as our brand ambassador and visionary," Steris said. "Creativity is a Volcom hallmark, and we have great talent within our global organization and long term partnerships that will enable us to continue to put forth exceptional products, events, art, music and film that will challenge convention and inspire today’s youth. It’s an exciting time for the company and I look forward to leading the global teams through this next chapter and beyond."

Last year, Volcom was acquired by PPR S.A., a conglomerate of consumer and luxury brands, including Puma, Redcats, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Balenciaga, and others. The deal, which delisted Volcom as a publicly traded company, was valued at $608 million. As a result, Volcom became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of PPR.

Woolcott said he has greatly enjoyed his role in helping to develop such a dynamic company, and said he’s “as passionate about Volcom as ever before.”

"I believe we have created an enduring brand and have been successful largely by diversifying our business, regularly attacking new opportunities and always remaining true to our riding heritage,” Woolcott said. “Now I want to devote more time and effort to working with the Volcom team from a creative and branding standpoint, and explore new ways to evolve the company that are unique and remain at the forefront of our industry."

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