Vail Resorts, which operates 37 mountain resorts in three countries, announced on August 10 that long-time CEO Rob Katz would be yielding CEO duties to Kirsten Lynch, currently Chief Marketing Officer of the company, on November 1, 2021. Katz will remain with the company as executive chairperson of the board and intends to remain fully active in strategic decisions and priorities.
Lynch first came to Vail in 2011 as Chief Marketing Officer after serving in leadership positions at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods. A native of Chicago, she first skied at Wilmot Mountain Resort in Wisconsin at the age of six. She resides in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and two children, and serves on the Board of Directors of Stitch Fix, Inc., an on-line personal styling service. In 2019, she was named to Forbes’ CMO Next list, recognized as one of the top 50 game-changing marketing leaders.
“Over her 10 years with the Company, Kirsten has been responsible for the transformation and success of Vail Resorts’ data-driven marketing efforts and a primary driver of the Company’s growth, stability and value creation,” said Katz. “In addition to having an incredible business accumen, Kirsten is one of the most passionate, driven leaders I have ever worked with. Her tremendous enthusiasm for the long-term vitality of our sport and a very high commitment to leadership development within our Company will make her an outstanding leader of Vail Resorts. Kirsten will also be surrounded by an extremely strong and tenured executive team,” Katz added.
“It is an honor to lead Vail Resorts as CEO and build upon Rob’s legacy of reimagining our mountain experience,” said Lynch.
Lynch will be elected to the Company’s board of directors when she assumes CEO duties in November. Replacing her as Chief Marketing Officer will be Ryan Bennett, who currently serves as Vice President of Marketing and Lift Revenue for Vail Resorts.
Katz, who has served as CEO of Vail Resorts since 2006 after joining the company in 1996, explained that succession planning has been a key focus for him, particularly as ski areas navigated a complex environment created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the right time for me to take a step back and play a different role at Vail Resorts. I am incredibly proud of where our Company is today and passionate about supporting Kirsten, our board and our executive team in continuing to reimagine the mountain resort experience,” Katz explained.
Vail Resorts owns Mid-Atlantic resorts Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost, and Big Boulder.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.