Paul Gagner, VP of sales and marketing of Gregory Packs, has accepted a new position as president of Sierra Designs and Ultimate Directions. Mr. Gagner has been an outdoor industry advocate for over 25 years, and an active climber for almost 30 years. His career has spanned from retail sales clerk and store manager to sales rep and VP of sales and marketing at Gregory for the past 10 years.
BOSS caught up with Mr. Gagner shortly after he announced his plans. He will officially be starting at Sierra Designs on May 15. “Ive been here at Gregory for ten years. Ive been challenged and Ive learned a lot, but I just felt like it was time to put myself in a situation where I had the opportunity to run my own company,” he said. “Sierra designs and the A.R.P. (American Recreation Products) structure were appealing. They allow the president of each division to have a significant amount of autonomy.”
Over the next three weeks, Mr. Gagner will be transferring his responsibilities at Gregory to others in the organization; his last day at Gregory will be April 21st. Some in the industry have speculated that this could be a negative move for Gregory, but Gagner believes it will simply give the upper management the opportunity to re-structure. Gregory has yet to name a replacement for Mr. Gagner, but he suspects that Gregorys VP of international sales & marketing, Dion Goldsworthy, will move into a sales position and the company will find a new person to take over marketing for the brand.
Looking forward, Gagner feels that Sierra Designs is doing very well, but it is a brand that lacks a clear focus. “Its a brand that doesnt know what it want to do when it grows up. That may sound funny since it has been around for 40 years, but recently it has been positioned as a womens brand, and a fashion brand. Thats not aligned with the equipment end of the business. I hope I can bring a little more clarity and focus so we can know what the customer wants. To bring it back to a core outdoor brand.”
Gagner was also the driving force behind the potential formation of an outdoor coalition at Armor Holding, Gregorys parent company. He said that his team has done a considerable amount of strategic planning and he hopes someone else will pick up the ball and run with it.