The CEO of outdoor gear retailer REI is stepping down in the wake of an inquiry into a personal relationship that appeared to be a conflict of interest.
Jerry Stritzke, who has been the co-op’s president and CEO since 2013, will have his last day on March 15, according to a statement from the company which said the leadership change was announced at a staff meeting Tuesday.
An outside law firm had been looking into Stritzke’s relationship –described by REI as “personal and consensual” with the head of another group that operates in the outdoor space. Stritzke’s decision to resign was accepted by the company’s board on Monday.
“We will always be grateful for Jerry’s drive,” Steve Hooper, REI’s chaiman of the board said in the statement. “The conclusions of the investigation, however, were clear. Errors of judgment were made and Jerry and the board agree that REI needs a new leader to take the co-op forward from its very strong position.”
Stritzke said that he regretted his actions and should have been up front about the entanglement.
“I regret few things in life but I am sorry that I did not disclose the relationship, and it’s time for the co-op to have a new leader,” he said in an open letter to staffers what was noted in the company statement. ” The last thing I want is to damage REI and I deeply regret that any of this could impact the co-op.”
Despite the relationship, no financial improprieties were uncovered during the investigation.
According to outdoor retailer REI, at least.
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