VISTA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Twenty-five days after Trek announced its purchase of Electra, Skip Hess, who led the brand’s development for almost five years, stepped down Friday telling Electra’s staff his decision to leave is effective immediately.
In a press release, Hess said, “From the outset I knew that if we focused on nurturing the Electra brand and making retailers and consumers incredibly happy, then the financial growth would follow.”
Many in the industry had been speculating how long Hess would stay at Electra, and his decision to leave so quickly caught some by surprise. And most are curious as to where Hess will turn up next.
However, who will Trek name to replace him? The industry may learn the answer next week. Trek’s president, John Burke, is scheduled to meet with Electra’s staff and could announce a new boss for the operation. Hess will be home celebrating a family event and will not be on hand for Burke’s visit.
Hess has been commuting for years between his home in Newbury Park to the Electra offices in Vista — a 140-mile, two-and-a-half-hour slog on Southern California’s traffic-clogged freeways. Hess also kept a separate residence in the Vista area, spending days away from home and family.
Hess plans to take time off to spend with his wife. His three children, two sons and a daughter, are now in college.
“Skip undoubtedly made some money on the sale. I just think he wants to take the time and decompress,” one industry veteran said. “He’s busted his hump for five years to get the company where it’s at. It’s a job well done, so now it’s time for him to get his life back,” he added.
In leaving the company, Hess praised his staff for their efforts. “None of this would have happened without the efforts of the amazing people at Electra and I look forward to the incredible things they’ll accomplish down the road,” he said.
For Electra retailers, Hess and Burke have said there will be no change in policy regardless of what bicycle brands retailers currently carry.
Shortly after the announcement of the Trek purchase, Electra’s outside sales staff were let go. Inside sales staff will remain on board to service long-time Electra dealers, while Trek reps will work with Trek dealers who currently sell the brand.
Hess, in an earlier interview, told Bicycle Retailer & Industry News that at some point Trek management would examine the further integration of staff operations. About 35 people work in Vista and another 17 staff its European offices.
In a statement, Burke praised Hess for his leadership. “Skip has done an outstanding job with an exceptionally talented Electra team to build one of the best brands in the world. Because of Skip’s efforts and achievements . . . I’m certain that the future is even brighter for both Skip and the Electra brand,” he said.