Backcountry.com is under new leadership following backlash over trademark battles. On June 8th, Backcountry.com announced that Melanie Cox will serve as CEO. Backcountry.com also created the new role of chief marketing officer, which will be filled by Sarah Crockett.
Backcountry.com came under fire last fall for taking legal action to protect their trademark. Many people perceived Backcountry.com’s actions as predatory. Brands targeted by the online gear retailer included a denim company, a canned cold brew coffee company, and Backcountry Babes, a women’s avalanche education company. Backcountry.com claimed that these brands, many of which were small, grassroots organisations and non-profits, were infringing on their trademark.
Many felt that the company’s actions unfairly targeted small businesses that did not have the funds to fight a costly legal battle against the online retailer. Notably, Backcountry.com did not target Backcountry Access, which is owned by the private equity giant Kohlberg & Co.
Public outrage over the retailer’s actions included boycotts in addition to the creation of the Facebook group Boycott BackcountryDOTcom, which currently has over 21k members. Former CEO John Nielsen released a public letter of apology in November. Backcountry.com also parted ways with the legal firm hired to protect the brand’s trademark, and ended all outstanding litigation.
Backcountry.com is under new leadership as of June 8th, with former CEO John Nielsen being replaced by Melanie Cox. Melanie Cox has worked as a retail executive for 25 years, managing brands like rue21 and Wet Seal. Cox also founded MBC Consulting, specializing in advising firms in market trends and opportunities as well as risk assessment. Cox says, “Backcountry was founded on the notion that by providing people with the best gear and expertise, it can connect people with the outdoors, and I see great potential for the brand by focusing on this opportunity.”
Sarah Crockett will serve in the brand’s newly created role as Chief Marketing Officer. Crockett was the former CMO at Burton Snowboards, and previously worked in senior marketing positions at Vans and REI. Crockett says, “Backcountry is a brand that stands for something bigger than the products it sells, and I am excited to fully unlock the unique value that it can offer to the modern outdoor segment.”