John Lacy

A nonfamily member is taking on a major role at Burton Snowboards in what could be the first hint of a succession plan for the brand.

The Vermont-based company best known for its snowboards and related apparel on Wednesday elevated president John Lacy to co-chief executive officer. He will share the top seat with Donna Carpenter, co-owner and wife of Burton founder Jake Burton Carpenter.

Lacy has been with Burton for two decades and was named president three years ago.

“Jake and I have worked with John for over 20 years, and we trust him to take on more responsibility for running Burton day-to-day,” said Donna Carpenter. “In the three years John has been president, he’s made a big impact on our business, brand and company culture. The timing for this new leadership structure is also ideal as Jake and I will live in Europe next year to focus on our European business, which I helped establish over 30 years ago. With John proving to be a strong leader of Burton overall, I can focus even more on the areas where I contribute the most value.”

Burton's Donna Carpenter

Burton’s Donna Carpenter. 

Burton has offices in Austria, Japan, Australia, Canada and China.

In addition to international initiatives, Donna Carpenter will continue to be immersed in the women’s market, customer insights and “purpose-led marketing as well as initiatives surrounding Burton’s impact on the sport, the industry and the planet,” the company said.

Lacy will work with the executive team to develop and execute the company’s strategic priorities. He will also have oversight of product, marketing, operations, finance and international divisions on a daily basis from the company’s Burlington, Vt., headquarters.

Burton said since being named president, Lacy has helped Burton navigate through “an extremely challenging retail landscape” while heightening efforts around the company’s direct-to-consumer opportunities. He has helped the company pay out 100 percent of its profit-sharing bonuses and achieve its leanest inventory position in over a decade, the company said.

“To share the ceo role with Donna is a huge honor,” said Lacy. “As coleader of the company she and Jake founded, my number-one goal is respecting the heritage, sport and brand they’ve built over the past 40-plus years while positioning Burton for success for the next 40 years and beyond.”

Burton Snowboards was founded in 1977 out of Jake Burton Carpenter’s Vermont barn. The company manufactures snowboards, boots, bindings, outerwear and layering pieces as well as year-round apparel, packs/bags and accessories. The company is still privately held and owned by the Carpenters. Donna Carpenter became involved in the business shortly after meeting Jake Burton when she was 20 years old and in recent years, has championed the causes of women and sustainability within the company.

In an interview with WWD last year, Donna Carpenter said she and her husband were wrestling with a succession plan for their company.

“We’ve made provisions if anything happens to us so the company isn’t sold in a fire sale, but beyond that…we don’t want to take it public, we don’t want to sell it, we don’t necessarily want our kids running it if it’s not the best thing for them. So we don’t know. Bur for right now, we’re happy,” she said last December.

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