Retiring Volvo Penta Americas CEO Clint Moore built a brand and made lots of friends along the way
Fishing tournaments and dealer meetings — that’s how Clint Moore planned to spend the summer before retiring Sept. 1 from the helm of Volvo Penta of the Americas.
Speaking in June from the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Beaufort, N.C., where his 20-year-old son had just won the daily prize for the biggest dolphin, Moore quipped, “Lots of boats, lots of people catching fish — unfortunately, we weren’t catching many.”
Moore has earned a reputation in the industry as someone who listens and as a boss who will respect any opinion brought to the table, even if he doesn’t agree with it. He’s not one to waste words, and when he speaks in his gentle Southern lilt it’s because he has something to say.
When Soundings Trade Only caught up with Moore, he reflected on his 16 years as CEO of the company, the long-lived recession and where he might go from here. With 38 years in the industry, including time at Mercury Marine, Glastron/Larson and Bassett Boats, he has insight into the overall health of boating, and he is optimistic. “I think the fundamentals are just better now,” he says. “So much of the pipeline has been cleaned out. The distressed boats are gone, and used boats are out there but not abundant.
“I think that we’re offering products now that give people a good reason to buy something new, especially with the electronics and things that we are consistently coming up with,” he adds. “So I just think this feels different — and good.”
Of course, the last few years have been tough for the entire industry. “This has been a nasty one, but I leave feeling good,” Moore says. “My head is held high. I’ve got a super team that’s eager to take over. That’s a big part of my job, to make sure we’ve got good succession plans and good people ready to go.”
Moore’s decision to depart, which came to the chagrin of many who have worked with him, was made after his longtime boss, Göran Gummeson, announced he would be retiring as president of AB Volvo Penta. When Gummeson retired March 1, Bjorn Ingemanson replaced him. “He’s got a young new replacement. I met with him the first time at the Miami boat show and told him … if it would be helpful to step aside I’d be happy to do that,” Moore says. “Thirty-eight years is a long time.”
At first, the response was negative, Moore says, but after thinking it over, Ingemanson agreed. “He’s young and eager and all full of energy,” Moore says. “He’s really good. He’ll do a good job. But I understand he needs to put his long-term team around him.”
On Aug. 17, Volvo Penta announced Moore’s replacement, Ron Huibers, who had been president of sales and marketing North America within Volvo Trucks Americas.
Huibers will have responsibility for Volvo Penta’s sales, marketing and aftermarket operations in North America, Central America and South America in the newly formed Volvo Penta Region Americas.
Two online stories about Moore’s departure received several comments from people who had worked with him. Steve Ansay dubbed Moore a “class act.”
Wayne Johnson posted: “As a former Larson dealer, now retired, I remember Clint as one of the nicest, most pleasant and friendly company CEOs that I’ve ever known. He would always take time to invite me into his office during his time at Larson to just talk shop. Let’s hope he remains in the boating industry for years to come.”
Moore says that although he hasn’t thought a lot about the future, right now his plan is to shift his focus to volunteering with youth in some capacity. “It’s fairly typical in Sweden to retire at 65,” Moore says. “I’ll be 65 in September, so I’m at that point, too.”
As the parent of two sons, Moore has enjoyed spending time with his son’s friends. With a 20-year-old and a 17-year-old, the Moore household has often been a hangout.
“It’s time to do something different, I think,” Moore says. “Our two boys have friends visit our home frequently. It’s amazing how many young men are coming up in a single-parent family, typically with their mother. They’re so eager to have a male to talk to, to bounce things off of, and I’ve really enjoyed doing that. I’d like to do something like that. I can spend a couple hours on our back patio just talking with them. I think that’s what I’m really mostly focused on right now.
“That’s my known interest. There may be others. I just never had time to think about it,” he adds.
The company boat the Moores have used to fish many tournaments, a 70-foot Spencer Yachts custom Carolina sportfish with a triple Volvo Penta IPS setup, is a “nice way to travel” and will be missed, but for now Moore has no plans for a replacement. “Volvo built this boat right in the height of the downturn, in 2008-09, so that tells you about the commitment of Volvo and the strength of Volvo, as well,” Moore says.
Suddenly he was quiet. “I’m sitting here looking out my window and there are wild horses on the island where we’re staying,” Moore says. “It’s really a beautiful little town. I feel really blessed to be in a position where I’m reasonably young, healthy and in a position to enjoy retirement.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue.