Equip Outdoor Technologies UK Ltd. (Equip), parent of technical outdoor apparel and equipment brands Rab and Lowe Alpine, hired Richard Leedham as CEO, effective February 5.

Leddham, former president of the Berghaus brand and founder and director of Outdoor Gear for Good, will succeed Matt Gowar, who announced in November 2023 that he would be stepping down after 30 years developing the business and its brands.

Leddham is a 30-year outdoor industry veteran, having worked in multiple roles at Pentland Brands and serving on its executive team, where he was responsible for the Outdoor Division as president of the Berghaus brand from 2013 to 2018. 

For many years, Leddham served on the boards of the European Outdoor Group and the Outdoor Industry Association in the UK. He is also the founder and director of the non-profit Outdoor Gear for Good, which diverts excess stock from the industry and keeps it from going to landfills. From 2019 to the end of 2023, he worked with the women’s outdoor brand ACAI in product development and helping to establish new sales channels.

Matt Gowar will remain active within the business, retaining executive responsibility at Equip Board level in his areas of expertise, including CSR, supplier sourcing and supporting the development in North America.

Said Leedham, “I am proud and excited to take up the position of CEO at Equip Outdoor Technologies. Already I am enthused by the energy and passion of the people I have met. I have massive respect for the work that Matt and the team have put into the development of the business and both the Rab and Lowe Alpine brands. This is particularly impressive when you factor in the global challenges the industry has faced over the last few years. The team has identified some compelling opportunities for developing award-winning technical products, creating an industry-leading CSR agenda, as well as driving sustainable growth across global markets. I’m looking forward to getting started and advancing these plans.

“I have been privileged to work across a variety of leadership roles in outdoor businesses. This position allows me to capitalize on my experience in an industry that I love. With my background, Matt’s support, and working with the excellent team in place, I see a smooth transition that will demonstrate to our partners that Equip remains the outdoor company to do business with.”

Gowar said, “I am delighted to welcome Richard to the business. His product knowledge, understanding of the outdoor industry, and experience in board operations enable me to hand the CEO role to someone who I know can move the business forward at the pace and scale needed. This frees my time up to concentrate on the areas of the business where I have the most expertise and also allows me the chance to do the things I have missed out on whilst building the business.”

Image courtesy Rab