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Former Pearl Izumi president Chris Sword named president of Bell & Giro

Published October 24, 2019

ANOKA, Minn. (BRAIN) — Chris Sword, who has been president of Shimano-owned Pearl Izumi for about two years, will become president of Vista Outdoor's Bell & Giro brands effective Oct. 30.

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Sword will be responsible for Vista's Action Sports business unit. He will serve as a member of Vista Outdoor's senior leadership team, reporting to CEO Chris Metz.

"Chris has a strong outdoor industry track record for building brands, shaping culture and providing on-point direction. He is an exceptional leader, marketer and business strategist," Metz said. "Sword's initial objectives will focus on streamlining performance, improving profitability and positioning these strong brands for long-term growth and success."

At Pearl Izumi Sword pushed for the adoption of an extensive social purpose program, which included the adoption of more sustainable practices across its design, production and packaging. Prior to Pearl Izumi, Sword served as North American president of the outdoor brands Salewa and Dynafit. He has also spent time in leadership positions at Ford Motor Company and Russell Athletic.

"I'm thrilled to work closely with a set of brands I've admired and personally used for years. I'm confident we will develop and implement strategies to drive these brands forward," Sword said.

Sword has an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and an MBA from Duke University. He is an athlete who rides bikes and motorcycles, snowboards and skis, runs marathons and competes in triathlons. He and his family will relocate from Colorado to join the Bell + Giro team at its business headquarters in Scotts Valley, California.

Vista announced in April that Jen Harned, who had been president and brand leader for Bell and Giro, had left the company.

Vista has said it plans to sell the bike brands as part of a portfolio realignment, but said it plans to re-invest in them for a time before putting them on the market. In July this year the company layed off about 14 workers at the Scotts Valley facility.

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