Three executives quit at Fishing Holdings

Three top executives resigned at Fishing Holdings, the Arkansas-based boat manufacturer of the Ranger, Triton and Stratos brands.
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Three top executives resigned at Fishing Holdings, the Arkansas-based boat manufacturer of the Ranger, Triton and Stratos brands that Bass Pro Shops acquired earlier this year.

“Last week we regretfully accepted the resignations of three executives at Fishing Holdings; [president] Randy Hopper, [sales vice president] Keith Daffron and [finance vice president] Mendel Hughes,” Bass Pro Group communications director Jack Wlezian told Trade Only Today in an emailed statement.

“These actions were voluntary and do not reflect any changes in philosophy with regard to management,” he said. “We remain deeply committed to the Ranger, Stratos and Triton brands and have tremendous respect for the strong, independent dealer network. The dealers and fantastic team of associates in Flippin, Arkansas, continue to have our full support and admiration.”

The news was initially reported by the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader.

Bass Pro Group bought the fishing boat brands from Platinum Equity almost a year ago, and Hopper expressed optimism about the arrangement at that time.

“We are fortunate to partner with Bass Pro Group, which understands the industry and our brands,” he said in a statement when the acquisition was announced. “This new alliance will provide synergies that will strengthen our independent dealer base and ensure our continued focus on fishing.”

Under the agreement, Fishing Holdings was to continue to operate independently under its existing management at its headquarters in Flippin, which is a two-hour drive from Bass Pro Shops’ headquarters in Springfield, Mo.

Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris founded the Tracker Marine Group, which includes the aluminum fishing boat brand Tracker, the performance fishing boat brand Nitro, the offshore saltwater sport and inshore fishing boat brand Mako, the family runabout and deckboat brand Tahoe and the pontoon brand Regency, as well as kayaks.

The agreement seemed to be met with enthusiasm from all parties, as it combined two internationally recognized fishing boat brands. It also created another connection between Morris and Ranger Boats founder Forrest Wood. Both are fishermen, conservationists and entrepreneurs.

The Ranger and Stratos brands have been through their share of transition. California-based Platinum Equity Group’s PBH Marine Group said it had bought the brands out of bankruptcy in 2010, purchasing essentially all of the assets of Genmar Holdings for $70 million.

PBH purchased 11 brands, including Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns, Larson and Glastron, Soundings Trade Only reported at the time.

Carver and Marquis were purchased for $6.05 million by J&D Acquisitions LLC, a company created by former Genmar owner Irwin Jacobs, along with John Paul DeJoria. Some additional brands were subsequently resold, including the Larson brand, which Jacobs also purchased.

The Ranger and Stratos brands were folded into Fishing Holdings, and Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and the revived brand Scarab were rolled into Rec Boat Holdings.

PBH also acquired Triton from Brunswick Corp. to add to the Fishing Holdings portfolio.

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