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Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario Has Stepped Down

After 12 years of pushing environmental standards in the apparel sector forward, Marcario is leaving the brand.
Rose Marcario.

Rose Marcario.

Rose Marcario, longtime president and CEO of Patagonia, is stepping down from her position effective June 12.

Marcario was at the helm of the company for 12 years, during which time she elevated the company to a new level of commitment to environmental and social activism. 

She helped pioneer Patagonia Provisions, the brand's regenerative food offshoot; its involvement in the Regenerative Organic Alliance; and Patagonia Action Works, the company's hub for environmental activism. It was under Marcario's guidance that Patagonia achieved Benefit Corporation status and got the company involved in the fight to protect national monuments (and went so far as to sue the president in that pursuit). 

Marcario also established the bipartisan Time to Vote coalition aimed at increasing voter turnout at elections in the United States, and her leadership resulted in the company giving away more grants to grassroots activists than ever before in its history, according to release from the brand.

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"Rose has grown our advocacy efforts in ways I could never have imagined," Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said in a statement. "With Rose at the helm, we are leading an overdue revolution in agriculture, challenging this administration's evil environmental rollbacks, growing a movement to increase voter participation in our elections and raising the bar on building our product in the most responsible manner possible."

Though Marcario told Fast Company that she'd been working on her exit from the brand since late last year, the suddenness of the announcement — and the fact that no successor has yet been named — have led some to wonder if her resignation is tied to the racial diversity issues that are sparking so much other leadership turnover this week. 

Whether coincidence or not, it's worth noting that on Wednesday, environmental advocate and drag queen Pattie Gonia wrote an open letter to the company asking that it "invest in [its] BIPOC and Queer employees," among other things. (Marcario was named number one on Fast Company's "Queer 50" list in May, and was a relatively rare example of an out, queer woman CEO leading a major apparel brand). On Wednesday night, Patagonia announced that Marcario was stepping down.

According to the company, COO Doug Freeman will be overseeing Patagonia's transition until Marcario's replacement can be found.

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