Burton Snowboards has made a change in its executive ranks, naming John Lacy its solo chief executive officer and Donna Carpenter chairman of the board.
Carpenter, wife of founder Jake Burton Carpenter, who died in November of last year, had shared the ceo post with Lacy since the fall of 2018. As chairman, Donna Carpenter takes over the role previously held by her late husband.
“John has earned the trust of Jake, myself, our sons and our board of directors to lead Burton as the ceo,” said Donna Carpenter. “This promotion is well-earned and has been a milestone Jake and I have been planning for quite some time. Several years ago, we told John that if he wanted to be the ceo, he needed to surround himself with a strong group of leaders, strengthen the brand and culture, focus on the strategic plan and deliver solid financial performance. John was up to the challenge and our business has gotten consistently stronger since John became president and then co-ceo.”
Lacy, who has been with the privately held, Vermont-based brand for more than 20 years, had served as president for three years before being elevated to co-ceo.
Lacy started his career at Burton in 1997 working the phones in rider service. Since then, he has held positions in almost every facet of the company, from customer service, product development and sales to executive roles overseeing the product departments. In 2016, when he was promoted from chief product officer to president, he navigated Burton through a volatile retail landscape by increasing the company’s focus on direct-to-consumer opportunities. Since becoming co-ceo, the company has posted two consecutive years of exceeding its financial goals by increasing sales, reducing inventory and enhancing direct-to-consumer initiatives.
The company stressed that despite Lacy’s promotion, Donna Carpenter will be “very involved” and her primary focus will be to continue her husband’s legacy “protecting and advocating for the sport of snowboarding.” She will also continue to support international markets and advocate for more diversity in the snow sports industry.
Jake Burton Carpenter, known as the Godfather of Snowboarding, is credited with essentially creating a sport whose annual sales are expected to exceed $352 billion by 2023.
With her three sons, Donna Carpenter will also continue to play a role in the projects that were most important to Jake Burton Carpenter, including Mine77, the limited-edition collection of apparel and gear that features innovative fabrics and cutting-edge technology that he launched in December 2018.
“To have earned the trust of Jake, Donna and the board to become Burton’s ceo is one of the biggest honors of my life,” Lacy said. “Empowering the company to create the next era for Burton will continue to be my main focus. And working closely with Donna and her sons to protect the heritage of this incredible brand and sport we all love will be a privilege. The future is bright for Burton, and you can feel the commitment and energy from everyone who works here to build on what Jake started.”
Although Jake Burton Carpenter had stepped back from the day-to-day operations of the company several years ago, his presence remained pervasive throughout the company. And his relatively sudden death on Nov. 20, 2019, was a major blow to the family-owned business, its employees and the snow sports community. Its founder was only 65 and he succumbed due to complications from recurring testicular cancer.
Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards in 1977 out of his Vermont barn and today, the company has evolved into a global business with 1,050 employees at its Burlington,Vt., headquarters and 64 freestanding stores. It manufactures snowboards, boots, bindings, outerwear and layering pieces as well as year-round apparel, packs/bags and accessories.