31 Dec Columbia Sportswear Thrives, Lifting CEO Tim Boyle To Billionaire Ranks
Seventy-five-year old Columbia Sportswear has grown into an apparel behemoth, making products that weather storms of the meteorological variety. It’s stayed that way by withstanding those that brew in the retail industry.
Most challenging of late have been the successive warm winters that have left retailers hesitant about placing orders for waterproof boots and down jackets. But Columbia’s stock has climbed to levels not seen in several years, adding president and CEO Tim Boyle to the ranks of the world’s billionaires. It’s also raised questions about how a company that hasn’t strayed too far from its founding mission of producing hats can create new demand for a traditional product.
Speaking from company headquarters in Portland, Boyle says he’s learned not to read too much into Wall Street’s whims. The stock has risen 24% in the past 12 months; the company sports a $2.3 billion market capitalization on 2012 revenues of $1.7 billion, with revenues projected to hold steady for 2013.
“Our share price will rise based on the color of the precipitation in New York City,” Boyle told Forbes. “If it snows, the share price goes up, so it’s hard to connect more strategic happenings with the share price.”
It hasn’t snowed on Wall Street yet this season, but the CEO’s 41% stake in Columbia Sportswear, worth $982 million, plus recent dividends, put him above the $1 billion mark (Boyle had previously appeared on the Forbes 400, most recently in 2004 with a personal worth of $860 million, but dropped off the list in 2005.) Boyle agrees with those, he says, who believe that money is less about accruing wealth and more about “keeping score.”