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Change of Course at West Marine

West Marine issued a brief statement on Tuesday saying CEO Doug Robinson has left the company after less than a year in the post. Encouragingly, Robinson was already an active sailor when he joined West Marine in January. He had previously worked for Lowe’s for 13 years in several executive roles.

During his brief tenure, Robinson had initiated renewed activity in the sailing market with event sponsorships and more engagement on the local level. West Marine was founded in the Bay Area’s Sunnyvale in 1968, and went on to become the largest marine retailer in the world. Along the way, they opened stores in Palo Alto, Oakland and Sausalito, and began advertising with Latitude 38 in our very first issue in April 1977. The company went public in 1993, and was bought by the private equity firm Monomoy Capital Partners in summer 2017.

An ad from our first issue from ‘West Coast Ropes’, which went on to become West Marine, in 1977.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

West has been the major player in the sailing market almost since it opened, but, despite a more robust economy, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The company recently consolidated its Oakland and Alameda stores into one facility in the mall on the South Shore Center in Alameda. The West Marine in Pleasant Hill also recently closed.

It was all fun and games at our recent Baja Ha-Ha kick-off party at the West Marine in San Diego.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

“An executive search is underway for a new CEO,” said Tuesday’s statement. “We anticipate significant interest from seasoned executives with extensive retail and e-commerce operational experience. The senior leadership team at West Marine remains in place and focused on returning the company to its core business and serving local boating communities.”

This is surely the most happening West Marine parking lot in the world.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / john

If you were thinking of looking for a job at West Marine, we know there’s an opening at HQ in Watsonville. Retail remains a challenging business, and West Marine is looking for a new navigator to chart the course.

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