In a surprise move, Patagonia’s president and chief executive officer of over 6 years, Rose Marcario, is stepping down effective June 12.
Marcario had been with the company 12 years. Chief operating officer Doug Freeman will be spearheading Patagonia’s transition with updates to follow, although no timeline was given as to when a new ceo will be named.
During her tenure, Patagonia has seen its “most prosperous time in its 47-year history” with revenues quadrupling since Marcario joined the company in 2008 (she became ceo in 2013). She did this while also helping to make B Corp a mainstay movement, wherein companies uphold people and the planet — not just profit.
Alongside founder Yvon Chouinard, Marcario started Patagonia Provisions, the company’s shelf-stable organic food line. She also worked alongside the Rodale Institute and Dr. Bronner’s to develop the Regenerative Organic Certification, reportedly meeting the highest standards for soil health, animal welfare and farmworker fairness.
Her list of achievements with Patagonia runs deep, having founded Tin Shed Ventures, the company’s in-house venture fund; Patagonia Action Works, a digital platform for mobilizing grassroots environmentalists, and Time to Vote, a 500-member bipartisan coalition of companies working to increase voter participation. Just this week, Patagonia was one of several companies along with Unilever, Eileen Fisher and Ben & Jerry’s urging federal lawmakers to provide additional funding to states to expand voting by mail and early in-person voting for this year’s elections.
Last September, Marcario accepted the entrepreneurial vision award on behalf of Patagonia at the Champions of the Earth gala held by the United Nations, saying: “If we lead by example then that will hopefully motivate the rest of our industry,” in an interview at the event.
Fostering a culture of grassroots activism, a week prior to that event, Patagonia employees, including Marcario, closed shop and took to the streets alongside youth protestors to protest at the global youth climate strike. During her leadership, the company gave away more grants to grassroots activists, which would also earn her a Champions of Change award in 2015 by President Barack Obama.
“Rose has grown our advocacy efforts in ways I could never have imagined,” said Chouinard, in a statement. “With Rose at the helm, we are leading an overdue revolution in agriculture, challenging this administration’s evil environmental rollbacks, growing a movement to increase voter participation in our elections and raising the bar on building our product in the most responsible manner possible,” he added.
The company said the succession has been in the works for some time. Although unrelated, her departure comes amidst former Patagonia staffers and community members raising claims of a lack of diversity.
Corley Kenna, a Patagonia spokesperson said: “Circumstances around the pandemic created a natural inflection point for reimagining our business.”