Winnebago Industries, Inc. announced that it has appointed Huw Bower as President, Winnebago Outdoors, effective October 12, 2020. Mr. Bower will report to President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Happe and will be based in the Company’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota office.
Winnebago Industries is a leader and growing parent company in the outdoor lifestyle products arena, with several premium brands in its recreational portfolio – Winnebago, Grand Design, Newmar, and Chris-Craft.
Bower’s primary responsibilities will include all revenue streams associated with the flagship brand, Winnebago, namely Winnebago-branded recreational and specialty vehicles. The Company will also look to strategically expand the presence of the Winnebago brand in other outdoor lifestyle spaces.
Bower joins Winnebago Industries after more than 15 years in brand leadership and executive roles at Brunswick Corporation, a global leader in the marine industry. Most recently as President, Boat Group reporting to the CEO of Brunswick, Bower was responsible for that organization’s portfolio of iconic boat brands including Sea Ray, Boston Whaler and Lund, among others. During this time, he gained significant portfolio management experience, accelerated the growth of the boat business, strengthened dealer relationships, and created innovative, high performing teams. Bower was also instrumental through the years in advancing strategic planning and business development activities within Brunswick.
Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe commented, “We are extremely excited to have a high-quality leader such as Huw join our executive leadership team. Not only will he add further strength to our motivated management team, his passion for leading premium, differentiated brands will enable Huw to build on the momentum of our flagship brand and advance our leadership position in the outdoor lifestyle industry. His broad experience across the durable goods value chain, combining both operations and product development capabilities with a focus on the consumer, will be immediately accretive. While Huw will drive profitable growth within our Winnebago-branded recreational and specialty vehicles businesses, his knowledge of other outdoor markets will be welcomed as we also explore new revenue opportunities for the Winnebago brand.”
In addition, it was announced that Brian Hazelton will assume an expanded role within the Winnebago-brand structure. Hazelton will be promoted to Senior Vice President, Winnebago-brand RVs (both motorhomes and towables), reporting directly to Huw Bower. He will be responsible for all customer-facing areas of the full-line Winnebago RV business – this will include product management, engineering, sales, marketing, and customer service. Under Hazelton’s leadership, the Company will look to drive stronger internal efficiency and incremental value for its channel partners and end consumers by combining its currently separate Winnebago-branded motorhome and towables businesses, while retaining operations in Northern Iowa and Middlebury, Indiana. As a result of these changes, the current leader of the Winnebago-brand towables business, Scott Degnan, will be leaving the organization effective today.
Happe continued, “Winnebago is the most well-known brand of recreational vehicles in the world, and we believe it is time to bring both the motorhome and towables businesses under that iconic brand together. Brian’s work over the past four years restructuring the Winnebago-brand motorhome business, and building credibility with our important external stakeholders, make him the ideal candidate to drive one full-line business forward in the future. The leadership strengths of Bower and Hazelton are complementary, and their partnership will significantly benefit our business and our customers. We are very appreciative of the work Scott Degnan has done professionally with Winnebago Industries through the years and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
The moves announced by Winnebago Industries do not have any impact on the leadership or operating structure of the Company’s Grand Design, Newmar and Chris-Craft brands. Winnebago Industries will be releasing its Fiscal Year 2020 year-end and fourth quarter results later in October.