Rec kayak magnate Hemisphere Design Works has hired Jim Fox as its new Chief Executive Officer. Fox’s predecessor, Chuck Smith, stepped down from his position following a mutual agreement. Fox will now oversee the company’s continued evolution in a rapidly growing market.
Fox brings with him a wealth of experience in both the watersports and recreation industries, making him the ideal choice to accelerate HDW’s growth trajectory. He previously served as president of Brunswick’s Lowell, Michigan≠based Attwood Marine Products business. There, Fox oversaw a leading supplier of boat parts and accessories, developing strong relationships with the largest boat supply and accessory retailers, such as Walmart, while expanding into Costco, Sam’s Club, and The Home Depot.
“I embrace this opportunity to join one of the biggest brands in the paddlesports industry and look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead,” Fox said. “Building on my Michigan ties and experience with leading retailers, we want to go beyond sustaining our growth; we want to position our brands to be the preferred choice of paddlesports enthusiasts.”
Fox replaces Smith, who joined HDW as CEO in 2017 and presided over a merger that made waves in the watersports industry. In the spring of 2018, Michigan-based KL Outdoor united with Quebec-based GSC Technologies to form Hemisphere Design Works. The convergence made HDW the preeminent kayak maker with a stable of brands that comprise an industry leading 30 percent of the market. The HDW portfolio includes the flagship brands of Sundolphin, Future Beach, and Evoke.
“We are thankful for Chuck’s efforts in the creation of Hemisphere Design Works. His entire team put in a tremendous amount of work to make HDW a reality,” Senior Vice President of Operations Katie Wierengo said. “We believe Jim’s breadth of experience has prepared him to effectively lead HDW as we solidify our standing as a maker of quality products, with a shared mission of empowering people to get out on the water.”
Because of HDW’s strong position in a fast-growing product sector, the company and its financial partner, New Water Capital, remain confident HDW will keep growing its market share. Fox and the HDW management team are working to expand by introducing its existing brands to new markets while de
veloping new innovative products.