Gregory Mountain Products CEO John Simons resigns, company begins search for new leader to take it to next level

Gregory Mountain Products President and CEO John N. Simons resigned this week to pursue outside interests. Gregory has begun a search for a new President and CEO, hiring executive search firm Egon Zehnder International to lead an international recruitment effort.
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gregory Mountain Products President and CEO John N. Simons resigned this week to pursue outside interests. Gregory has begun a search for a new President and CEO, hiring executive search firm Egon Zehnder International to lead an international recruitment effort.

Gregory Mountain Products repurchased Simons’ equity interest in the Company. Veteran investors Warren B. Kanders and Robert R. Schiller, along with remaining members of the management team, including founder Wayne Gregory, continue to hold all of the equity interests in Gregory Mountain Products LLC, and remain committed to the long-term vision of investing in and building Gregory, the market leader in backpack technology for 30 years. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

After separating from its former parent company in March 2008, Gregory successfully moved its corporate headquarters from Temecula to Sacramento, CA, developed an outstanding team of business division leaders, and has grown its product offerings significantly. In addition, in a challenging economic environment, the company’s revenues and profitability have continued to grow.

"It's been a privilege to develop and work with the outstanding team at Gregory and its incredible partners around the globe, and I am confident that the business is well positioned to perform at the same high level in its future,” Simons said.

Formed by Kanders, Schiller and Simons, Gregory Mountain Products LLC originally acquired Gregory in March 2008. Commenting on recent developments, Schiller stated “Gregory is an iconic brand in the outdoor industry and over the last several years has developed into a strong platform poised to continue growing through organic initiatives and through targeted strategic acquisitions in the outdoor recreation industry. We thank John Simons for his leadership of the business through this development and we wish him well in the future. We look forward to working with the team at Gregory to identify new leadership and working together to execute on our shared vision.”

Through Gregory, Kanders and Schiller plan to identify, acquire and integrate top-tier niche brands within the industry which are consistent with the investors' overall strategic vision and with Gregory's core values, he said. The group expects to pursue both buy-and-hold acquisitions and brands that integrate cohesively with Gregory.

Longtime partners Kanders and Schiller have successfully used this approach in other business ventures. Together, through 12 years and more than 50 acquisitions, the two men built Armor Holdings (formerly AH: NYSE), a global supplier of law enforcement and military safety equipment. They sold the company in 2007 for approximately $4.5 billion.

“This is a part of our natural evolution as a company and our investment thesis is unchanged” said Kanders. “Gregory is a clean, authentic brand, globally distributed and well positioned to capitalize on a long-term global trend of people pursuing healthier, more active lifestyles.”

Qualified parties interested in the president and CEO position can forward an expression of interest and curriculum vitae to jennifer.gooding@ezi.net with “Gregory” in the subject line.

About Gregory Mountain Products

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2007, Gregory Mountain Products has been the longtime leader in expedition, backpacking and day packs. Gregory is world-renowned for setting durability, comfort and performance standard in backpacks. In recent years, Gregory won awards for its pack designs from such diverse media outlets as Backpacker Magazine, Popular Science, National Geographic Adventure, Consumers Digest and Alpinist Magazine. Responsible for many industry firsts in backpacking fit and design, the Gregory research and design team, including company founder Wayne Gregory, continues to lead the way in innovative backpack technology and performance. In March 2008, Gregory relocated its headquarters from Temecula, Calif., to Sacramento, Calif.

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