There’s a changing of the guard at the helm of Johnnie-O.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based menswear brand has named John Collins chief executive officer. The former Patagonia executive succeeds Dave Gatto, who had served as CEO and a board director since 2015. Gatto, who is credited with helping to substantially grow the company from its polo shirt roots during his tenure, will be retiring this year.
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Collins joined Patagonia in 1996 and spent more than 20 years with the company in a variety of capacities, ranging from vice president of the U.S. as well as the Americas and Asia Pacific. His last position with the company was head of global sales and customer experience. He left Patagonia in September of 2021 and had been serving as CEO of Better Place Forests, a company that creates and maintains memorial forests, until June of this year.
At Johnnie-O, Collins will focus on accelerating the growth of the business through “increased brand investment and omnichannel expansion, including wholesale and branded retail development,” the company said. He will also explore entering new product categories.
“It was important to me and the Johnnie-O board of directors that my successor was someone who valued authenticity and integrity and would not only uphold the work we’ve done to bolster the brand but make even greater progress towards our growth goals,” Gatto said. “I am thrilled that we found that person in JC. With JC’s strong track record in leadership and a clear vision for the future, I am confident that he will help take Johnnie-O to new heights.”
“This is an important and exciting moment in the company’s growth,” said Collins. “As a Johnnie-O customer, I was already aware of our great product and when I dug deeper, I found a fantastic community of people. From our employees to our customers, Johnnie-O resonates so well, and I am grateful that Dave Gatto, John O’Donnell, and the larger Johnnie-O team are entrusting me to help lead the brand into its next phase.”
John O’Donnell, who founded the company in 2005, added: “John brings a wealth of experience and expertise in cultivating brands that consumers love and trust. I look forward to working with him on the next big chapter for Johnnie-O and bringing the company’s full potential to life. I also want to thank Dave for his many years of service to Johnnie-O and wish him the best as he embarks on retirement.”
Johnnie-O, which is known for its surfer dude logo, has notched sales growth of more than 20 percent in 16 of its 17 years in business and has annual sales of $200 million. Last April, it took on its first institutional investors when Ares Management Corp. and Wasatch Global Investors purchased a minority stake for $108 million.
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