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West Marine chooses Harris as CEO

By IBI Magazine/Michael Verdon

West Marine today named Peter Harris as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 3, 2005. Harris, who has 24 years experience as a CEO with five different companies, was most recently CEO of the professional football team, the San Francisco 49ers.

"We feel very fortunate to have such a talented executive and proven leader as Peter join us at West Marine," said Randy Repass, chairman, in a statement.

Harris started his career stocking shelves for Gemco department stores, and eventually worked his way up the corporate ladder to become its CEO from 1980 to 1985. Under his leadership, Gemco grew to US$2.2 billion in revenue and 18,000 associates.

In 1985, Harris and an investor partner purchased the retail toy chain FAO Schwarz, a troubled company at the time. Harris helped lead the company through a successful turnaround and sold it in 1990.

In 1992, Harris was named CEO of Accolade and, later, The Picture People. In 2000, he was named President and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers. Harris has also served on the boards of directors of companies like Six Flags Theme Parks, Pacific Sunwear, Stride Rite and Mrs. Fields.

Harris is replacing retiring CEO John Edmondson. During Edmondson's tenure as CEO, West Marine has expanded from US$454 million in sales and 212 stores in 1998 to over US$680 million in projected sales and 376 stores planned for 2004.

Repass said that Harris will be responsible for taking West Marine "to the next level."

(9 December 2004)

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