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Steve Flagg steps down as QBP president

Published August 21, 2015
Company veteran Rich Tauer takes the reins as Q’s founder focuses on strategy and product innovation.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — After 34 years as president of Quality Bicycle Products, Steve Flagg is stepping aside and has named Rich Tauer to take his place. Tauer, currently the company’s vice president, takes on his new role Oct. 1.

Flagg, 64, becomes the company’s chairman. Flagg said he will work closely with Tauer on transition issues as well as with Jerry Pomije, vice president of finance and operations.

“My new title and the role I’ll play will involve working on strategy, product innovation and organizational development,” said Flagg, who sees gaps in the industry where there’s an opportunity for QBP to invest.

“I can help us invest at a faster rate, and take a calculated risk when the time is right. New brands and new products can grow to be successful on their own or, in some cases, become new categories of growth for QBP, dealers and the industry,” Flagg said.

While QBP has a long history of developing brands, the company’s decision to push fat bikes into the market is a prime example of how QBP can build a new category for dealers and suppliers.

Tauer, a 26-year company veteran, said QBP’s future is bright despite uncertainty in the marketplace. “The industry is changing and QBP is in a great position to continue to lead that change. Our transition from being a distribution company to being a distribution and bicycle (and accessory) company continues,” he said.

Flagg and his wife, Mary Henrickson, founded QBP in 1981 in St. Paul, Minnesota. They specialized in importing hard-to-find mountain bike parts from Japanese suppliers. Today, QBP has 690 employees working at its four U.S. facilities and its recently opened offices in Taichung, Taiwan.

Flagg said handing over the company keys to Tauer ensures that QBP will maintain its relationship with its customers. “As president, Rich will take ownership of overall operational excellence and expansion of our service level for dealers and our suppliers,” he said.

The 50-year-old Tauer said Flagg’s decision to focus on product development, refining business strategies and increasing the tempo of product and service innovation is “incredibly valuable” to QBP.

Tauer said he would emphasize the fundamentals of operational excellence, move forward on new business strategies and align resources throughout the organization. “QBP will continue to be a driving force in the bike industry,” he added.

For expanded coverage on the changing of the guard at QBP, including an extended Q&A with Tauer, read the Sept. 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer.



Flagg (left) and Tauer.
Topics associated with this article: Distributor news

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