Derbyshire technologies firm appoints new CEO

Posted by: Jade Harrison

Thu 18th January 2024

Equip Outdoor Technologies UK Ltd. (Equip), home of technical outdoor apparel and equipment brands Rab and Lowe Alpine, has announced the appointment of Richard Leedham to “lead the business into an exciting new chapter.”
The business is based at Birchwood Way, Cotes Park Industrial Estate in Somercotes.
A spokesman for the company said: “Richard, former President of the Berghaus brand and founder and director of Outdoor Gear for Good will take up his new role as Chief Executive Officer at Equip on February 5, 2024. He will succeed Matt Gowar, who announced in November 2023 that he would be stepping down following 30 years developing the business and its brands, Rab and Lowe Alpine.
“Richard brings a wealth of experience from over 30 years in the outdoor industry, having worked within multiple roles at Pentland Brands and serving on their executive team. During his tenure, he held responsibility for the Outdoor Division as President of the Berghaus brand from 2013-2018.
“Richard served for many years on the boards of the European Outdoor Group and the Outdoor Industries 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 from going to landfill. From 2019 through to the end of 2023, Richard worked with the women’s outdoor brand ACAI delivering substantial growth through product development and new sales channels.”
The spokesman continued: “This appointment will bring new experience and leadership to Equip’s existing board, leveraging the strength and reputation of the business to drive the five-year strategic plan; committing to increase turnover, further its leadership in CSR and continue to grow share in core markets.
“Matt Gowar will remain active within the business, retaining executive responsibility at Equip Board level for his areas of speciality and passion, including CSR, supplier sourcing and supporting the development in North America.”
Richard said: “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 capitalise 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.”
Matt Gowar, Owner and current CEO, Equip Outdoor Technologies (UK) Ltd, said: “I am delighted to welcome Richard to the business. His product knowledge, understanding of the outdoor industry, and experience of board operations enables 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.”

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