It’s spring outside flowers are in bloom, the bull-wheels have stopped turning for most places in the northern hemisphere and chances are you’re season is over. At this time of the year the weather signals in a rebirth of growth and the cycle begins. Over at Burton Snowboards it seems that some rebirth is also in order. In case you didn’t hear the CEO Laurent Potdevin has decided to resign.
Here’s the Press Release:
BURLINGTON, Vt. (May 3, 2010) — Burton today announced the departure of CEO Laurent Potdevin, who plans to pursue other opportunities after working at the world’s leading snowboard company for 15 years. Laurent will stay connected to Burton as a consultant and advisor to the company.
“Laurent and I have had a great 15 years together,” says Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman of Burton Snowboards. “I support his decision to move on, and as a company we’ve always looked at change as an opportunity. This marks a new chapter for Burton during a time when snowboarding is gaining a lot of momentum.”
“What started as a Vermont leap-of-faith 15 years ago turned out to be one hell of a ride,” said Laurent Potdevin. “It’s been an incredibly fun, fast and productive time, which I truly enjoyed every day. From Jake on, the people at Burton are a powerful, inspiring and fun group, and I will miss that.”
Laurent has a strong legacy at the company. He came to Burton in 1995 in an Operations capacity, was elevated to the role of President in 2002, and ultimately became CEO in 2005, overseeing all Burton brands and shared services on a global level. During his tenure, Laurent played a key role in Burton’s diversification efforts and helped maintain and strengthen Burton’s position as the snowboard industry leader.
“Laurent has helped steer Burton through some very challenging periods,” continued Jake. “And this transition is a lot easier knowing that he leaves Burton at a time when our focus, performance and team are more solid than ever. Our commitment to product and to supporting our retailers has not wavered, and we are ready for what lies ahead.”
Moving forward, in addition to being Burton’s Chairman and Founder, Jake Burton will assume the role of CEO on an interim basis, while Burton searches for Laurent’s successor. Jake will receive considerable help from his wife Donna, who has played an integral role in the company since its inception, including spearheading the growth of Burton’s women’s business and international sales.
In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn. Since then, Burton has fueled the growth of snowboarding worldwide through its groundbreaking product lines, its team of top snowboarders and its grassroots efforts to get the sport accepted at resorts. In 1996, Burton began growing its family of brands to include boardsports and apparel brands. Privately held and owned by Jake, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with offices in California, Austria, Japan and Australia. For more information, visit http://www.burton.com.
So here’s the big plaguing question everyone’s been asking. Is this a good move on Burtons part as a brand? Well if you look at a company that claims to be rider driven who would you rather have at the helm? A guy that made expensive shitty hand bags or a guy that used to build boards in his garage and was one of the founding fathers of everything we have in snowboarding? Seems like a pretty easy answer to me.
Burton is an amazing brand in regards to how they’ve marketed themselves over the years and continually driven their image and what they were about to remain at the forefront of snowboarding. Sure the anti-Burton bandwagon has grown immensely in proportion to their take over of the snowboarding mainstream, but that’s to be expected. I can’t deny that I’m a member of that bandwagon with good reason, but these reasons should be put on the person leading the company.
As much as this press release tries to sugar coat things, doesn’t this seem a bit suspicious that after a couple seasons of making decisions that definitely weren’t benefiting snowboardings best interest he’s resigning? In the last few years it’s seemed that Jake was a bit withdrawn from the actual going ons of his company. So perhaps this move of him stepping into the role he once held and having help from his wife is one that snowboarding needs?
Personally I welcome Jake back to being in the drivers seat. Seems that this could be the best thing for the largest most talked about brand in snowboarding. What do you think?