A lot of people have it in their minds they’ll work until they’re in the grave. A buddy of mine jokes that he’ll have to put in at least a half-day on the day of his funeral. For some of us, it’s simply because we love what we do and can’t imagine stopping. For most others, however, it’s because it’s just not practical.
But, for Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO John Schaefer, it is practical, and so he’s doing it.
Sportsman’s Warehouse announced big changes in its top leadership this week. Chief Executive Officer John Schaefer resigned Wednesday as part of a transition plan years in the making at the outdoor retailer. Jon Barker, president and chief operating officer, will step into Schaefer’s leadership role just one year after Sportman’s Warehouse hired him.
“We recruited Jon Barker as President and COO last March with the expectation that he would not only apply his expertise in heading up our growing e-commerce platform, but would also be prepared in time to be our next CEO,” Schaefer said in a news release Wednesday. “The Board and I are all impressed by the significant contributions Jon has made over the last year. We are confident Jon is prepared to lead the company’s next phase of growth by expanding its national retail footprint and accelerating its e-commerce capabilities as a full-fledged omni-channel retailer.”
Under Schaefer’s direction, Sportsman’s Warehouse nearly quadrupled its footprint, growing from 25 locations to almost 90 in just nine years. He said “the time is right” to let the next generation of executives take over.
“Our Company is in excellent financial shape, our growth strategy is clear and I feel confident about our strong positioning in the outdoor sporting goods niche,” he said. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead this exceptional company.”
Board Chairman Chris Eastman thanked Schaefer Wednesday for transforming the retailer during his tenure into its current leadership position within the industry.
“He has worked tirelessly from when we hired him almost nine years ago, achieving results significantly greater than we expected at the time,” he said. “John’s preparation over the last year for a smooth transition upon his planned retirement is just one example of his thoughtful leadership. We have equal confidence in Jon Barker and the rest of the executive team and expect Sportsman’s will continue to grow and evolve under their leadership in ways that will benefit our shareholders, our employees and our loyal customers.”
Sportsman’s Warehouse is a lot of people’s first stop for guns and gun-related items, and Schaefer’s work is part of why.
For the ordinary consumer, it’s unlikely they’ll ever notice the difference. Barker will likely step into his CEO role and never miss a beat as the company continues to perform well. After all, anyone with half a brain will know not to fix something that isn’t broken, and all indicators are that the company is doing just fine. There will likely be a few tweaks here and there, but those will probably impact behind-the-scene operations more than anything the customer sees.