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Leadership Changes at Arctic Cat: Erik Nelson to Lead Snowmobile Division


(3/29/2016)

Erik Nelson, Arctic Cat VP-GM of Snowmobile Division

 

Press Release -

Arctic Cat Names Erik C. Nelson to Lead Snowmobile Division and Patricia L. Jones as Chief Human Resources Officer

 Arctic Cat Inc., today announced that Erik C. Nelson is being promoted to vice president and general manager of the snowmobile division and international sales, effective April 1, 2016. The company also announced that Patricia L. Jones has joined as chief human resources officer, effective immediately. Nelson succeeds Brad Darling and Jones succeeds Willliam Nee, both of whom are pursuing other opportunities.

“We are pleased to welcome Erik and Patty to these important roles, as we continue to build an exciting, innovative and results-driven culture to achieve our growth goals,” said Christopher Metz, Arctic Cat’s president and chief executive officer. “I also want to thank Brad Darling and Bill Nee for their many years of leadership at Arctic Cat and significant contributions to helping us reposition the company for growth.”

Nelson joined Arctic Cat in 2013 as director of international sales, where he was responsible for leading the company’s sales and market development efforts outside of the US and Canada. Prior to joining Arctic Cat, Nelson served as vice president of sales and marketing for Marquis Yachts. In that position, he led global sales, marketing, service operations, and a network of 53 independent dealers in 28 countries. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.

Metz stated: “Erik has demonstrated exceptional leadership of our international business in a challenging macroeconomic environment. Erik’s innovative thinking, strong brand and marketing skillset, and passion for the power sports industry will help fuel snowmobile market share gains.”

In her new role as Arctic Cat’s chief human resources officer, Jones brings nearly 30 years of senior executive experience at Minnesota-based companies across multiple disciplines, including human resources, law, corporate governance, operations, process improvement and communications.

“Patty brings a strong combination of legal and human resources expertise,” said Metz. “She has a proven track record of success in leading organizational development and transformation for multibillion-dollar corporations. Her passion for building talented teams that deliver results fits well with our aggressive growth goals.”

Most recently, Jones was senior vice president of administration for Lifetouch, Inc., the largest employee-owned photography company operating in the U.S. and Canada, where she led human resources, strategic planning and process improvement. Before that, Jones was executive vice president and chief administrative officer (CAO) for Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a multi-billion dollar health system. Jones’ previous experience also includes serving as CAO and general counsel for NYSE-listed H.B. Fuller Company, a $2 billion global manufacturer, and as senior vice president of administration and general counsel for the Star Tribune newspaper. Jones began her career with the former Northwest Airlines, now Delta Airlines, where she advanced through increasingly responsible labor relations and legal roles to become vice president of human resources.

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. degree from the William Mitchell College of Law. She has served on the board of directors of the Royal Neighbors of America insurance company since 2013.



Comments (27):

Mike F says:
3/29/2016 9:23:00 AM

Well that certainly is interesting.....
Bulldog says:
3/29/2016 9:55:00 AM

Where is Brad Darling going? He was just talking about the new partnership with Yamaha and how excited he was about where the relationship could go. Now he is leaving?? Did he go to work for Yamaha's snowmobile division???
Mavrick says:
3/29/2016 10:47:00 AM

Brad Darling was obviously punted down the road like all the other managment changes that have happened over the last couple years. Cat needs to change direction fast, their sled line up has fallen behind.
Bulldog says:
3/29/2016 11:23:00 AM

But the article says both are pursuing other opportunities. Sounds to me like they left for greener pastures. I hope this is a positive not a negative.
Mavrick says:
3/29/2016 12:05:00 PM

They always say that when parting ways.......trust me, as you say Brad Darling was just speaking of all these great plans that were put in motion....he had not planned to leave cat. Cat's sled division is in trouble and needs change, Brad had his shot and now sales are poor, tech is behind, and the share price is down to multi year lows, yes this will be a good change, time to shake things up!
Kevin H says:
3/29/2016 3:10:00 PM

So..... my question is this - is Erik Nelson a snowmobiler? He's only been with Cat a few years so It leaves some questions. I'd love to also see John S interview him for his thoughts on the direction of sleds at AC.
yamahabandit says:
3/29/2016 4:01:00 PM

I guess it would have been too much to hope for a snowmobile guy to run the sled division.
I certainly hope this is another step in the right direction but I have a hard time believing that Brad Darling was the cause of Cat's problems.
Sleds are put away,it's golf season again! Have a great summer everyone!
XF High Country says:
3/29/2016 4:53:00 PM

While I am the first to say change at the top is good, I dont think Darling was given a chance. He took over the position right before the Procross was released, so any criticism for the shortfalls of that release was on Mr Home Depot. Everyone has said the Yamaha relationship is better than expected, which appears to all be Darling's responsibility. Gutsy move that paid off - kudos to him. Its tough on everyone at Cat to be smaller than the competition with such limited resources. I just hope the new CEO's growth expecations are not too unrealistic that he is starting to place the blame. Sometimes a forecast doesn't become reality - especially when the the sled division is driven by Mother Nature and the white gold that she doesn't always deliver.
Cat guy says:
3/30/2016 3:02:00 PM

Read this arcticle, Arctic Cat sleds are on a roll, rated as the best performing, best handling 2017 sleds. Sad to see Brad move on.

http://osmmag.com/first-ride-review-2017-arctic-cat-does-arctic-cat-have-the-fastest-and-best-handling-sleds/
butarctic says:
3/30/2016 4:20:00 PM

Personally i think Brad did a great job at Arctic and i know its hard for Americans to understand but the rumour is he wanted to move back to Canada, btw do you know Brads brother has the biggest Arctic Cat dealership in Canada.
kevin sebastian says:
3/30/2016 6:04:00 PM

OSM speaks highly of the new lineup and Did anybody READ what Snowest said about the 2017 mountain cat??? And yes all around the snow belt this year are stacks of non current sleds still in crates. All brands included. We had a crappy winter period.
CW says:
3/30/2016 6:39:00 PM

Eric Nelson, is not a smart move ! Marquis Yachts looks like a ghost town when you drive-by it. Hasn't made a profit in years . I have friends that worked with him there . Said he knew nothing about a boat . Let alone a Snowmoblie ! Irwin Jacobs, owns Marquis Yatchts . Same guy that bought and closed Arctic Cat in the 80s !
Kevin H says:
3/30/2016 8:36:00 PM

You mean Irv the Liquidator? Ouch.
ericsno says:
3/30/2016 9:59:00 PM

The 2017 zr 8000 is basically the same as the 2012 other than clutches and the shocks ,they could at least change the body work some ,if people are going to pay a lot for a sled they want new stuff , i had a 13 and 14 800 good sleds ,you don't have to be president of the snowmobile division to see why cat is going downhill bring out sleds people want .
Mavrick says:
3/31/2016 12:12:00 PM

It was stated earlier on this thread that cat was on a roll.....lol....yeah rolling down hill... Their tech is behind, sleds are heavy and slow, their 800 needs a clutch kit to run with others in it's class, their stock price is at multi year lows, and they are loosing market share year after year....... So one good artical by OMS and cat is all good again? I'm sorry, but the market does not see it that way. Yes cats line up has improved since 2012.... they finally got the Procross to where it needed to be when it was originally released in 2012, problem is it's MY2017......old tech now. No one is buying new sleds based on BNG, they want to see a new 800, they want to see a new chassis, they want to see cat inovate again. Looking forward to MY2018, lets hope it's worth it.
butarctic says:
3/31/2016 1:39:00 PM

Mavrick why do you care you drive a POLARIS, shouldnt you be looking to see if your motor hasnt grenaded, you keep coming on complaing about Arctic with nothing good to say why dont you stay on your **** poo forum, oh and btw here in Quebec for every new POLARIS you see on the trails you see 5 new Cats, nice 4 stroke you got there at Polaris lol
Mavrick says:
3/31/2016 2:24:00 PM

Buttarse, you just proved my point.......i have owned many cats and Polaris over the years, but due to nothing new coming down the pipe from Cat i could not justify buying another cat, so i went back to Polaris....and i am glad i did, awesome sled.....zero issues, and fast! With that being said if cat makes the new 800+cc class leading again, i will be first in line to buy one. Quebec is a very small piece of the pie, cat will need to generate alot more sales than that to stay in the game. As far as 4 strokes go.....no thanks....never will i be on one. I am hoping like everyone else on here that Cat hits a home run in MY2018.
Tom White says:
3/31/2016 8:17:00 PM

In my opinion success for anything begins at the top. The person in charge of the snowmobile division at Arctic Cat needs to feel the same passion that his customer does. This person should feel sick every time he gets beat by another brand and even sicker if he gets towed back by one. Hopefully Erik will keep his finger on the pulse of the Arctic Cat customer base, listen to his dealers and have the vision to see what's next for the snowmobile industry. If you build the best snowmobile on the planet everything else will fall into place.
dpach says:
4/1/2016 3:25:00 PM

Erik is going to be in tough. He is inheriting 2-3 years of poor snow conditions which caused a boat load of left over sleds that need to be blown out before they release a new chassis/engine. Because of that, profits will be down (due to rebates and incentives) which means shareholders won't be happy, there won't be as much $ for R&D, factory re-tooling, etc. Erik hasn't been known for long term visions or quick turnarounds which unfortunately both are what Cat needs right now. I own Cat's and will continue to. I will ride the "dirty" Zuke 800 as long as I can and the wife loves her Ctec 6000. The relationship with Yami no doubt brings in more $ which is good. We may see the new 800+ next season I limited numbers (depending on anything released at Haydays) but likely for 2018 with a new chassis (if yami's carbon fibre reinforced plastic for chassis components works like they want to) which will be lighter and hopefully just as strong.

Cat really needs to work with their dealers. Too many dealers are having product rammed down their throats to keep the production line moving. That only produces short term "now" money for Cat as they end up losing in the end with rebates on a ton of leftovers. In that time, Cat dealers are getting frustrated and some are closing doors or changing franchises. Cat also needs to listen to dealers in regards to issues and then work with them to fix issues that are known issues. Being in the auto industry, the easiest customer to sell a product to is a customer you already have. It is much harder and much more costlier to find new customers (customer retention depends on how the customer is treated after their purchase).
Jim C says:
4/2/2016 10:20:00 PM

I really don't understand cat has best 600 on market lots of power good on oil/fuel winning on the track I've owned 600 etec too good motor but prefer cat .Cat also has best 4 stroke on snow with the Yamaha ,have one those too works great .Now they have new turbo coming that is sure to deliver.As for the other brands I also have 800 axys nice sled but I still prefer my cats handling to its .It would have been better if they came out with new 800 but I'd rather they get it right, as you can see by other readers coments they not accepting of any perceived shortcomings .Maybe a bit heavier but not enough to really affect anything (also makes it strong).If you only look at who is getting to the end of the lake 1st you may be missing how good a sled is by its overall package.As for what happened to Mr Darling we will never know I do believe though cat is a much better sled than it was in 2012 and is still as good if not better than its competition.I think Mr Darling had something to do with that .Even if things aren't perfect there is still much to be happy about
Pierrelacat says:
4/3/2016 8:40:00 AM

This has me very worried losing Brad Darling Arc Cat putting this other putz in there this is Claude Jordan all over again what the hell are they doing there it has me worried I better start saving up lots of money when the next bankrupt happens I'll buy on my stockpile to last till I retire from sledding! I will talk to Brad's brother in Exeter Ontario and get to the Bottom of this!
Ericsno says:
4/4/2016 1:16:00 PM

Im friends with a couple of cat dealers springs orders are way down.Its hard to get anybody to order a 17 when u can get a new zr 8000 uno pro 8500,cat has killed market the in mn wi mi with the special service and auction units .
Bulldog says:
4/5/2016 8:34:00 AM

Spring orders are way down because the 800 2 stroke is what most of us midwestern guys want to ride. There is nothing new on the 2017 so why spring order one when everyone knows a new motor is coming in 2018 and new body work and maybe some chassis tweaks. Lots who were waiting for this in 2017 will be switching to the Doo 850 or the Axys 800 and once you lose a customer its hard to get them back. Cat should have at least gave the 800 crowd, who have been patiently waiting, the new body panels and headlight for 2017. Maybe this is why Brad Darling left the company or got let go. John - Any chance you can updated us on why Brad Darling is no longer with AC and where he went? Inquiring minds want to know!
Mavrick says:
4/5/2016 12:29:00 PM

Bulldog, i 100% agree with everything your saying, at this point it's a waiting game until the new 800 is released.
John Sandberg says:
4/8/2016 11:48:00 AM

Regarding Brad Darling:

Last week I had a nice conversation with Brad, who informed me that he left Arctic Cat to be the President of ARGO. He was pumped to be president of a company and for the opportunity to move back to his Canadian homeland. But he was also sad to leave Arctic Cat, a company he greatly admires and loves, and whose future he strongly believes in.

He also told me that his replacement, Erik Nelson, is a GREAT guy as a person, and for the position of VP of snowmobiles.

Sometimes opportunities come at a time that makes sense to seize them. That's what happened for Brad. I'm personally sad to see Brad leave, but I'm happy for him and excited to see what Erik will do in his new position.

FWIW, here are a few excerpts from the ARGO Press Release -

ARGO, today appointed Brad Darling to President of its vehicle division, effective April 11, 2016.

In his new role, Darling assumes responsibility for leading and growing ARGO’s commercial and recreational markets, building and executing a global expansion strategy based off of the company’s recently launched target market vehicle platforms. In addition to strengthening the ARGO brand within the global market, Darling is also tasked with identifying and developing innovative new products, supporting and growing the company’s burgeoning dealership network.

An Ontario native, Darling has over 25 years of experience in the powersports business, most recently serving as Vice President and General Manager of Arctic Cat’s Snowmobile Division, a position he has held since 2011. In addition to various leadership positions within Arctic Cat, Darling also has 10 years of experience in the lawn and garden industry and worked in a family dealership for more than 18 years, starting at the age of seven.
Triple8 says:
4/10/2016 12:51:00 AM

Not a fan of brad don't get me wrong he is a nice guy but needed to go, not into change I think cat is smart to change most of its people, there are a few more that need to go, Joey..... Should be next go cat go you are on the right track, if new new m8 is not ready than I say way to go don't release make it right remember the 2012 we don't need that again people are afraid of first year sleds and growing pains
Jim C says:
4/29/2016 5:28:00 PM

Somebody should tell maverick and all the other Polaris defectors to check there rear suspension bushings because if you have over 3000 miles there probably all screwed mine are and when I ordered my new ones found out on back order for another month as well as most of idler wheels are oblong my cats with similar mileage show none of these issues greasable proper metal bushings . If this is the new lightweight tech that you talk about cat having I hope they never develop it .At this point I'm 400 into parts I can't have for a month the thing is in pieces tying up my shop space and I'm wishing it was cat I can get parts for those overnight in most cases thankfully it's not January

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