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REI names new merchandising, marketing leadership

SEATTLE — REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), a national outdoor gear and clothing retailer, has announced that Angela Owen has been named SVP marketing and Lee Fromson has become SVP merchandising. 

"With more than 50 combined years with the outdoor industry, Angela and Lee have a wealth of experience in driving innovation and leading essential company business units," said Brian Unmacht, REI's EVP. "They have well-deserved reputations for developing high performing teams and are highly regarded for their strategic leadership."

As SVP marketing, Owen will lead REI's advertising, social and emerging media, online and direct marketing, and customer insights efforts. She is replacing Tom Vogl, who left REI to join a technology firm. Joining REI in 1990, Owen was most recently the SVP merchandising, a team of 130 employees that buys gear and apparel for the co-op's 122 stores and direct sales channels. During her leadership, she grew the division by 54 percent in sales over the last five years.  

Owen serves as board VP The Conservation Alliance, a group of outdoor industry companies that funds and partners with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values.

Fromson, REI's new SVP merchandising, will oversee the company's merchandising strategy, financial planning, inventory management strategies and vendor partnership development. Fromson joined REI in 2006, serving as vice president of REI Private Brands, a division that accounts for a significant portion of the company's sales. REI's in-house team develops award-winning gear and apparel sold exclusively by the company under the REI and Novara labels in the categories of camping, hiking, cycling, urban lifestyle, travel and general outdoor recreation.

Prior to joining REI, Fromson was the president of Cascade Designs Inc. He is active in the outdoor industry and nonprofit causes, including serving as a board member of the National Forest Foundation and The Mountaineers, and the Appalachian Mountain Club board of advisors. He previously served as the chair of the Outdoor Industry Association board.

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