Ownership change at Garmont likely ahead; David Fee departs, returns to Yakima

On the heels of the announced departure of its North American president David Fee, who returned to Yakima on Tuesday, several sources tell SNEWS that Garmont is close to an ownership change.
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Garmont’s North American President David Fee stepped down Tuesday, signaling an upcoming change for the Italian footwear brand that likely involves a sale of the company, sources tell SNEWS.

Rumors of a Garmont sale have been swirling since summer. Garmont officials did not immediately return requests for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Yakima announced Tuesday that it is welcoming back David Fee as its U.S. and Canada General Manager. Fee left the company a little more than year ago for what turned out to be a short stint with Garmont. He declined to discuss any upcoming changes at Garmont.

Fee joined Garmont as its North American president in July 2011, helping the Italian footwear brand move its U.S. headquarters from Burlington, Vt. to Portland, Ore. Fee is now back at Yakima, where he previously worked in sales, marketing and product development roles from 2005 to 2011.

In his current role at Yakima, Fee will be responsible for sales and supply chain functions of the company’s three brands (Yakima, Whispbar and Prorack) in the U.S. and Canada.

“Since I last worked there, Yakima has taken some huge steps forward with global distribution and new brands,” Fee told SNEWS. “It’s a radically different company with new opportunities to grow. I really do love the brand, the people and the category.”

Fee said there are significant opportunities for growth and innovation in the cargo management category, moreso than footwear today, he added. Fee said he enjoyed his brief stay with Garmont, telling SNEWS it gave him valuable experience working with global supply chains and distribution — something he anticipates bringing back to Yakima.

--David Clucas

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