Follow ArcticInsider on YouTube Follow ArcticInsider on Facebook       

Arctic Cat VP, Craig Kennedy, Announces Departure


(12/17/2020)

Craig Kennedy introduces new M6000 Alpha at Haydays

You may have run across the news of Arctic Cat VP, Craig Kennedy, announcing his departure from the company. I talked with Craig about his personal decision to leave a brand he loves - Our work relationship has stemmed nearly twenty years, and I know firsthand Craig is truly passionate about Arctic Cat, its history,the consumers, employees and dealers - The choice to leave, wasn’t an easy one. 

That said, my fear of his departure is probably shared by many of you when I think of who will take his place, and will that person share the same brand passion?

Instead of letting me think the sky is falling, Craig put my mind at ease and let me know longtime Arctic Cat employee, Troy Halvorson, will take the interim helm.

Troy Halvorson is no stranger to ArcticInsider and is currently the Director of Operations   

I’ve known Troy equally as long as Craig, and he has been an integral player within the walls of Arctic Cat, holding a variety of key Engineering and Product Management roles within the snow division. Currently, Troy is the Director of Operations, which means he's responsible for production of all snow and dirt products. Strategic, dedicated and possessing a will to succeed, I feel confident Troy’s attributes will make the same type of positive impact on Arctic Cat, as the trail he’s blazed behind him. 

Craig announced his departure to dealers today, and I’ve included his letter below for you to read. I wish him the best, both now and in the future, and am appreciative of his hard work and dedication to the brand.  

 

 

December 17, 2020 
   

My friends,

As you might imagine, today has not been easy. I have spent much of my life at Arctic Cat, and it will always be an important part of who I am. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities I have had at this company, and did not make the decision to leave lightly. However, family comes first, and so I had to make the tough – but the right – call to step away.

I leave the company, and you as our dealer, in capable hands. All of you probably know Troy Halvorson, and know he is uniquely suited to his new assignment leading the Arctic Cat business through this transition. For those of you who don’t, Troy has served in just about every function during his 23-year tenure at Arctic Cat, knows our business and industry inside and out, and has an unmatched passion for Arctic Cat and its success. I know he will serve us, and you, well.

Richard Plunkett might be a new face to many of you, but he is the right choice to lead our dealer network and help you grow our business together. Richard has extensive experience across all aspects of TSV, giving him a depth and breadth of knowledge that few others possess. He will be tireless in his initiatives to build our business and help you become more successful in representing our brand and our products to our shared customers.

Thank you for all you have done to represent Arctic Cat, and to support me during my career here. I am proud to count you as partners and friends, and I will always proudly bleed Arctic Green. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Sincerely,

Craig Kennedy



Comments (38):

Derek says:
12/17/2020 12:35:00 PM

Textron cleaning house again or what? Sad to see him go, he has been a very great asset to Arctic Cat. He will be missed.
lets be real says:
12/17/2020 12:37:00 PM

Hopefully they get someone worth their salt that doesn't just shoot out bold face lies to appease their customers.
haydays 2019 “We are working on things. We have a team of a hundred engineers still working on things."
“We will be better at communicating with the media so the word gets out"
"the new ideas Textron has brought has set Arctic Cat up to be a successful and viable business." "Arctic Cat has a legacy in racing and we will continue to support it."
Kale says:
12/17/2020 12:37:00 PM

Derek - Not Textron's decision. This was Craig's decision. And I agree with you...he will be missed. Nice to see Troy in there.

LetsBeReal - There are things to be disappointed about, but Im not sure things listed are bold face lies...

100s of engineers? Yeah, I don't think there are 100 engineers left from the time that statement was made.

Communication with Media? There aren't a whole lot of snow media left, but Craig has been pretty open on interviews here, and with Powersports Business, and the State Association pubs. I cant speak to the level of communication with other vertical media though.

Successful, viable business? Im sure AC could be selling more, but they don't have carryover inventory, so thats positive. Im hopeful they ramp up for the future, but not to the point of stuffing dealers again...I do hope they work on parts supply though.

Supporting racing? Pretty sure they just launched three new race sleds. That shows support in my eyes...

Richard Purvis - This isn't a combative reply, but Ill disagree with you (nearly) completely. Is it disappointing to see a longterm Arctic Cat employee depart the company? Yes. But in no way is this a clear sign the company is departing the snow industry. Not sure you can shame Textron for Craigs departure either? Lets not forget, this is Craigs choice to leave. I do applaud Gunnar Kleveland (President and CEO of TSV) for having the foresight to put Troy in. Like I said in the story above, Troy has left a trail of success throughout his career.

Catman - Loss of dealers - Yes, there has been a loss of dealers. And those dealers ranged from Great/Mediocre/Bad. And for ALL of us consumers, we would rank "our" dealer in those various categories differently, for different reasons than Textron. What Im saying is, I cant speak to the dealer strategy on how/why dealers were cut. I do know some of those dealers have been brought back, and other new ones have opened. (That's a bright spot) Textron is looking for a certain type of dealer partner. Some partners wanna play, but others don't. Again, that strategy is FAR beyond me.

STEVo - Im not sure what statement Im supposed to make? I kinda feel like the stories I share on AI and these comments could be considered statements. Soooo... Ive never liked seeing AC loyalists go to other brands, nor does anyone within the walls of AC. That said, sometimes a guy just needs to see how a mower works on someone elses grass. Troy comments - I don't think its fair for any of us to expect Troy to be whatever brand "savior" you're looking for. Remember, AC is run by a much larger parent company.

Topic of Parts - I know AC/Textron is working on turning the parts supply around. How quick will it happen? I don't know. Given our current 'Rona (COVID) situation, that presents new manufacturing/shipping challenges to bounce back the supply chain quicker. This past week I tried to buy a tall windshield. I couldn't get one. My mind immediately jumped to blaming AC...Someone reminded me of the trickle down effect the Rona has caused on things seemingly simple to buy (or have in stock) like a windshield. It never crossed my mind businesses across the nation have been required to buy Lexan sheets at an alarming rate for sneezeguards, faceshields and other "germ" barriers which backlogs companies who make snowmobile windshields. (Sorry I blew up)
jj says:
12/17/2020 12:50:00 PM

As someone at one of the dealers that were told the "mutual agreement" (that they are not suppose to talk about) was the only option for them well good riddance. Maybe the next guy could bring back some off the dealers that were lost. Some are probably happy to be gone but others would probably love to come back.
Travis says:
12/17/2020 6:35:00 PM

Craig will be missed, and I wish Troy the best. Both will do great at whatever they tackle.
Austin Roller says:
12/17/2020 7:49:00 PM

You will always be an inspiration Craig! Thank you for your passion. You will be missed dearly, but we all know family needs to come first. Not last! We will see each other again real soon!
JF says:
12/17/2020 8:38:00 PM

You want to know why the Arctic Cat dirt lineup struggled for 3 years before the Textron acquisition - look no further than Craig. Surprised he lasted this long.
JW says:
12/18/2020 12:43:00 AM

Just wondering, JF.... what exactly is it that you do? It's obvious you know more than him since you felt the need to comment.
Why didn't you apply for his position? Craig worked for Arctic for over 20 years and uprooted his family from the Twin Cities to Thief River Falls and was kept year after year because of the dedication, passion, potential, dexterity, and talent he brought to the company. I'm sure they would love to recruit you if you feel you can bring more than that.
Ken says:
12/18/2020 3:46:00 AM

Thank you Craig for your many years of dedication and passion for Arctic Cat. You will be missed. it's always sad to see good people go. Good luck in your next adventure.

Hope this is not a sign of things coming.
catman says:
12/18/2020 9:13:00 AM

Sad but the next guy needs to be bring back some of the dealers that were lost like jj said. Everyone here needs to contact Cat and let them know we want some of those dealers back. They need to hear our voice!
TCATDOCTOR says:
12/18/2020 11:06:00 AM

CONGRATULATIONS TO TROY!! A TRUE CAT GUY IF THERE EVER WAS ONE! I REMEMBER MEETING HIM, ROGER, AND KEVIN THOMPSON ON OUR 200 MILE GUIDED RIDE AT THE HOMETOWN TOUR IN 2001. THE GUYS GOT 'IN TROUBLE' WITH MANAGEMENT FOR LOSING A FEW OF THE RIDERS IN THE GROUP! POSSIBLY FOR GOING A LITTLE TOO FAST! FORMER RACERS ARE LIKE THAT. HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE 2021 HAYDAYS??
Richard Purvis says:
12/18/2020 1:59:00 PM

This is a clear sign that Arctic Cat is leaving the snowmobile industry. When your head of sales and marketing bails and you leave the company to your head of operations, it's a biginning of a wind-down. Once 2021 sleds are built, they will certainly run the line for some service parts and mothball the factory. A sad end to a legacy - both for Arctic Cat faithful and for a dedicated 'last Mohican of Thief River Falls', Craig Kennedy. Shame on you, Textron. Shame.
Scott Eilertson says:
12/18/2020 5:24:00 PM

Best wishes to you Craig and your family on your next adventure. Thanks again for always giving me straight answers on any dirt product issues during my 20 years at Arctic Cat as a DSM and giving us some Great Products to sell through the years I was there. I always knew you were a great salesman after meeting your lovely wife because like me we both married way over our paygrade. Hope to see you on the trail sometime and share some old war stories as we both have plenty. Scott Eilertson
Larry says:
12/18/2020 7:56:00 PM

Hey JF Sh*t flows downhill and three years before Textron, there sure was an over abundance of it above Craig.
STEVo says:
12/18/2020 11:08:00 PM

This is GREG B post on Hardcoresledder he is a long time AC rider ie bleeds Green

"Kale had no statement on it other than posted what happened. Either way my sled is down for a month because cat has the parts back ordered. When it’s fixed it is gone. Won’t buy a new one because there is no point as it is the same. Done with them and won’t consider a cat until they make something new."

What ya gonna do TROY more customers are moving to other brands then moving to AC also loosing employees like crazy also due to better companys in the area that treat people right. Not sure if this is the guy that can get it done. Hope for a buy out from someone who cares about a snow product.
artdcat says:
12/20/2020 5:52:00 AM

Bye, STEVo.
1993kramer says:
12/20/2020 9:34:00 AM

All brands are experiencing some disruption to supplies. But I agree with Greg B... cat is nothing like what Cat used to be. From the product, dealers, race team... Everything that made me a die hard Cat guy for 30yrs is gone. I've spoken with my wallet and have four shiny new toys from other manufacturers now. I keep hoping for some kind of Cat comeback or an insider story from John... Neither seems to be coming.
Jeff says:
12/20/2020 7:15:00 PM

Some guys needs to cool their jets. A lacklustre year of dirt products, a few employees move on and they think the sky is falling and company is going out of business. Give your head a shake.
And obviously Kramer your no diehard cat guy when you jumped ship just cause nothing new came out from cat recently.
POLARIS just lost their CEO a few weeks prior. It happens.

JOHN ZEGLIN says:
12/20/2020 10:50:00 PM

It sounds like Arctic Cat lost a good man. Sorry to hear he is going. Has he said where he is headed?

There was mention of off road products and can someone say how Arctic Cat did this year? This was a banner years for ATV and Side by Side sales. I hope Cat dealers saw those same sales.

In our Twin City metro area we just had a NEW dealer sign on with Cat, Moorhouse Motorsports. I was pleased to see that after losing UFC Farm Supply due to their store closing.

The whole sport needs Arctic Cat to hang in there. They should not have any problem moving dealer inventory this winter. Sales are brisk.

Kale says:
12/21/2020 11:02:00 AM

1993kramer - I yearn for the days of the industry 30 years ago too because that's what I grew up with. But the industry has changed - All of it, and every brand. I hate to shoo people away from Arctic Cat, but I do think its good to experience all brands along with their short- and long-comings. You may end up returning? One thing I do know, you won't get an "Insider" story from John Sandberg on this site, considering he hasn't run it in two years. ;) (I still like the Lil fella though)
Mark says:
12/21/2020 9:44:00 PM

I just hope he isn't quitting because all they have to announce next year is new stickers on the 2022's. Special 10 year anniversary Procross.
Dave says:
12/23/2020 7:34:00 PM

I agree with 1993kramer, my last two purchases have been Polaris 850's. My passion is still the ZR9000 I own, but by the time I need to replace it will they have something better? Will they even be around? If they had only developed a 1000cc two stroke that would kept them on the map even with a dated (but still great) chassis. If Arctic Cat is about innovation, I don't know why people would but one?
Snopro says:
12/29/2020 5:07:00 PM

Just got back from my local dealer which is 45 miles away, needed a few parts and some oil. Took the kids along to let them walk around the showroom and get excited for the season. 12" snow expected tonight. There was not one cat sled to be seen anywhere the only cat things I saw was a stocking cap hanging in the corner. What ever cats marketing plan is, it sure didn't impress us.
acathole says:
1/5/2021 6:35:00 AM

I read that Craig went to work for Argo as VP of their Commercial and Robotic Group.
Glad2BGone says:
1/5/2021 4:34:00 PM

So, that would be with Brad Darling, assuming he is still at Argo?
Snopro says:
1/5/2021 5:43:00 PM

I believe another great engineer ended up there also, I looked into Argo a little bit, interesting lineup! A lot.of talent if they want to expand/pick up the pieces of an old friend. Don't tell me that conversation hasn't came up!
krom says:
1/5/2021 8:47:00 PM

Brad, Craig, and plenty of other ex cat folks at Argo
acathole says:
1/6/2021 6:29:00 AM

15 ex AC employees working at Argo now. They even set up an office and shop space in TRF.
Glad2BGone says:
1/6/2021 8:36:00 AM

Is Mark Esala at Argo??? I spoke with him numerous times, and he seemed to "get it", but was handcuffed by the "good old boys network", and ultimately the E-Z-Go morons.
Greeny says:
1/7/2021 10:50:00 AM

Makes you wonder what is going on in the old Black Magic building doesn’t it?
Hmmmmmm.......
B&E OUTDOORS says:
1/7/2021 3:37:00 PM

I hear through the grapevine rd engineering sleds our on the production line for testing ????
Ken says:
1/10/2021 8:31:00 AM

Snopro: That just plain sucks about bringing your kids to the dealer and being disappointed. This is what I miss the most when I was a kid. My dad brining me to the Cat dealer to see, sit and wish on all the new Cats. I also loved going through all the racks of new Cat clothing, helmets, other gear and merchandise. My dad bought us a brand new 1973 250 El Tigre. I saved from my paper route for new Cat gear. Man I was happy! Loved going into the dealer all the time. Arctic Cat needs to bring this kind of passion back. Advertising and marketing like they did back then. Yes, I believe it will still work.
catman says:
1/14/2021 11:29:00 AM

Guys, we must do our part and contact Arctic Cat and demand that they reinstate some dealers in areas that lost them! They are not going to sell more sleds with the elimination of dealers. Does anyone know Richards' email. We much reach out and let them know or nothing will change.
Snopro says:
1/14/2021 6:20:00 PM

Do you suppose, the sale to Textron included a clause that would protect Arctic cat snow division from being buried into extinction? At least for a certain number of years? It appears they are doing the bare minimum to keep the brand alive.
Glad2BGone says:
1/15/2021 9:00:00 AM

Snopro, I doubt it very much. This is a lot like I experienced them do with Homelite, just letting it wither on the vine. No competitive product. Dumping product at chain stores. Finally, they found a "sucker" in John Deere of all companies. It didn't take Deere long to figure out they had made a huge mistake, and dump it. The E-Z-Go morons are perfectly capable of grinding them right into the ground, without a second thought.
Brett says:
1/16/2021 5:47:00 AM

Let's face it folks, Textron's track record of buying companies and running them into the ground is indisputable. I've already accepted that Cat is going to be another one of their casualties. The only hope I see is if some investors can buy Cat back from them, like Polaris did years ago. As for getting their terminated Cat dealers back, the ones I've talked to are so pissed off about it I don't think they stand a chance of getting them back.
Lacat says:
1/18/2021 11:01:00 AM

Brad Darling used to be AC‘s sales rep here in southern Ontario my dealer hates him and thinks he has single-handedly destroyed AC and stole millions of dollars from them and now he’s stealing all the talent for Argo??! And with dealers dropping everywhere as I tour all over Quebec and Ontario to find a dealer is very difficult which is making the saddle bag touring very difficult! The do and pool team are moving forward as the cats become very dated and I’m not a sizzle chaser I’m here forever 51 years and counting but new stickers on the 22s is not going to cut it and where they went with the 200 and the blast very niche market!! Time to make some real sleds now!
Glas2BGone says:
1/19/2021 8:02:00 AM

Lacat, I can't speak specifically to Brad Darling or any allegations, but, as a former dealer, I view their demise differently. What I saw was a serious corporate culture problem. Under Chris Twomey they may have survived, and had some profitability, but there was a "dumb, fat, and happy" attitude that was more focused on paying shareholder dividends than innovation, or closing the gap with Brand X. I have met Mr. Twomey numerous times, and he visited our dealership several times. He is a gentleman, and listened attentively to issues we raised, and not listening to show "faux concern", as we were among a number of dealers who were even listed at a national dealer meeting as having provided input. But proclamations of change and improvement didn't come to fruition. That bring up the second major issue, and that is the large percentage of staff that were part of a "go along to get along", CYA, "not invented here syndrome" culture. "That's the way we do it here" was their mantra. An OEM vendor I got to know called it the Minnesota Mafia, or Thief River Mafia and the name fits. They got woefully behind Brand X, and didn't have the resources to engineer their way out of it. When Mr. Twomey decided to retire they made the fateful decision to engage " corporate turnaround carpetbaggers, like Claude Jordan, and Chris Metz. I call this the "RJR Nabisco" method, where these folks from outside the industry think they can blow into town, have a cheerleading session, call it "New & Improved!", and all will be well. That's not how this industry works. That's a super-condensed summary of the genesis of the downward spriral, IMHO.

Leave A Comment


ArcticInsider Article Code
Enter the characters above: (all lowercase, no spaces)

Midwest Riders Raeceline Wheels

SpeedWerx

ArcticCat

Action Graphics

Route 12 Arctic Cat

Blown Concepts Custom Vinyl Graphics

on Snow Magazine

Road Track and Trail

Thomas SnoSports

SLEDHEAD 24/7
 International Series of Champions

Christian Brothers Racing
Country Cat
SUPERTRAX International

D & D power Sports
Carver Performance Snowtech Magazine