In memoriam: Holger Bismann, general manager of Patagonia Europe and avid cyclist

Holger Bismann, general manager of Patagonia Europe, died on Oct. 15, 2011 following an illness.

On Oct. 15, 2011 Holger Bismann, the general manager of Patagonia Europe, died at a hospital near Munich, surrounded by his wife, Christelle Bismann, and two daughters, Helena Bismann and Johanna Bismann. He was 50.

Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan told SNEWS Bismann had been battling an undisclosed illness since winter 2010. He described Bismann as passionate and joyful.

"Holger was such a passionate, enthusiastic ambassador for the brand," Sheahan said. "A lot of leaders are remembered for their words, some are remembered for their actions, but Holger – you just remember how wonderful it was to be in the same room as him. He was upbeat, energetic and always very happy."

Bismann’s positivity is displayed in his own words from a 2010 article on Patagonia’s website in which he stated every problem has a solution.

“Staying positive and showing a good attitude is already half the solution,” Bismann said. “I am teaching my kids that you achieve more with a smile and by not getting bothered by things. You just have to keep dreaming about things that inspire you and if you believe in it, you can do it. All is possible.”

Bismann grew up in East Germany, where as a young man he participated in an elite luge program.

He spent 15 months in jail after attempting to flee East Germany shortly after his 1988 graduation from the University of Leipzig. He saw the time as a way to learn and be appreciative of life.

“It makes you a stronger person and teaches you that you have to be positive about everything and all that we have been given,” Bismann said in the 2010 article. He kept alive his relationship with his wife Christelle, who he met in 1986, for those 15 months, until Berlin Wall came down and he was released and reunited with his family.

Later he coached the French luge team that competed in the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France.

Bismann joined the Patagonia team in December 2008 after working in various positions at Nike for many years. He recently served as the president of the European Outdoor Conservation Alliance. He was known as an avid marathoner, triathlete, outdoorsman and cyclist. Sheahan said Bismann could hop off a plane from Europe to California and beat his colleagues in a 75-mile ride.

"He was an incredible aerobic athlete," Sheahan said.

At a Patagonia sales meeting on Oct. 17, a room of 250 people gave Bismann a standing ovation. The company will hold a ceremony in honor of Bismann in Geneva on Nov. 19 and has made a donation in his name to the Livestrong Foundation. It will also present a video titled "Life Chronicles" to Bismann's wife and daughters that includes stories of his life from his friends and colleagues.

Bismann, Sheahan said, was "Quite an inspiration to all of us."

Patagonia employee Andrea Tomasini, managing director of Patagonia Italy, will serve as interim general manager Europe supported by Jonathan Petty, European marketing manager.

–Ana Trujillo



In memoriam: Bob Jarrett was a true maverick and Patagonia friend

SNEWS® has learned that Bob Jarrett (1940 to 2010), a man who defined the word maverick, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 11 at his home in Colon, Panama. Those who were fortunate enough to have known him will long smile at the many memories Jarrett created during his more

Did you hear?... Organizational shift in management at Patagonia

There has been an organizational shift in management at Patagonia. Eve Jursch, former vice president of supply chain for the company is cutting back her hours at Patagonia to be able to spend more time on her organic farm in Northern California. She'll continue to work with Mike more

Sheahan takes Patagonia helm following Crooke resignation

Casey Sheahan has been named as Patagonia's interim CEO following the Friday, Sept. 30 resignation of Michael Crooke, CEO of the company since late 1999. Crooke's resignation is effective Nov. 1. Crooke told SNEWS® that he will continue as a member of the Lost Arrow board and more


Former Black Diamond President Ryan Gellert to lead Patagonia Europe

Patagonia has hired former Black Diamond President Ryan Gellert to lead its brand in Europe and the Middle East. Gellert previously spent 15 years at Black Diamond, where he served as the managing director of Black Diamond Asia, vice president of supply chain management and more


In Memoriam: Jacques Lavertue passes away at age 53

The outdoor industry experienced a great disturbance in the force on Oct. 13. Jacques Lavertue, president and general manager of the Outdoor Group at Wolverine, passed away at home on Saturday, surrounded by his family after a courageous eight-month battle with cancer. He was more

In memoriam: Saying goodbye to Marc Gmiter

Longtime industry veteran, beloved rep for numerous industry brands, and friend of many, died Saturday, Jan. 19, apparently of a massive heart attack while skiing near his Michigan home. Steve Bendzak, general manager for ExOfficio, shared the following with SNEWS®: “It was a more

Holger Bismann Joins Patagonia as Managing Director of Europe

VENTURA, Calif. (September 10, 2008) – Patagonia, Inc., the outdoor clothing manufacturer, announces today the selection of Holger Bismann as Patagonia Europe's new Managing Director. Drawing upon his thirteen-year tenure at Nike, Holger will provide positive leadership and more

Patagonia exits paddlesports business

Patagonia is out of the paddlesports business effective immediately. Retailers who recently received closeout lists of Lotus and other Patagonia paddlesports gear are rapidly picking the meat off the bones, SNEWS® was told. It marks the end of a paddlesports business that was more


Patagonia 2011 sales surpass $500 million; CEO explains restructuring

Patagonia reported record revenue along with stellar profit for 2011, and has more than 15 U.S. positions open for hire, but at the same time the Ventura, Calif. outdoor apparel company has undergone some employment changes, SNEWS has learned. Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan refuted more