Mountain Hardwear finally gets new president, six months after Gaylord's departure

John Christian Walbrecht. Photo from Walbrecht's LinkedIn page.

John Christian Walbrecht. Photo from Walbrecht's LinkedIn page.

After a long wait, Columbia Sportswear Company has announced that John Christian Walbrecht, a 17-year industry veteran, will serve as president of its Mountain Hardwear brand beginning March 7.

Walbrecht will not speak to media until his official start date, but Columbia Sportwear Company President Bryan Timm told SNEWS that "John's skills and experience are an exciting addition to Mountain Hardwear’s stellar team of outdoor enthusiasts. Together, they are in a unique position to push the boundaries of our industry – maintaining the rebellious spirit on which the brand was built.”

Prana president Scott Kerslake has been serving as interim president of Mountain Hardware for the last six months since the departure of Topher Gaylord. (Prana was acquired by Columbia Sportswear Company in August 2014.)

Walbrecht will report to Timm as leader of Mountain Hardwear’s global brand positioning and go-to-market product, sales and marketing strategies. Since 2012, Walbrecht served as president/CEO of Fenix Outdoors North America, in Boulder, CO, where he was responsible for the strategic direction of outdoor brands Fjällraven, Brunton, Primus and Hanwag.

“Mountain Hardwear’s history of serving the needs of some of the most demanding and accomplished alpinists in the world is a testament to its unique DNA and to its potential to inspire and connect with consumers around the world,” Walbrecht said in a statement.

He previously served as president of Brandbase, Inc., where he was responsible for global brand management of the Nomis, Technine and Sound snowboarding brands; as president of Section, Inc.; as SVP of global sales and marketing at Spyder Active Sports Inc. and president of Spyder Europe; and as international marketing strategist and board director for Dr. Martens in the U.S. and England. Walbrecht holds a master of business administration from Brigham Young University and is an avid cyclist, runner, triathlete, skier and angler, husband and father.

“The Mountain Hardwear brand plays an important role within our portfolio of brands that connect active people with their passions,” Timm said. “John has spent his career building brands that connect deeply with passionate, outdoor consumers through high-performance apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment. We are confident that he will help us unlock the global potential of the Mountain Hardwear brand."