Race Face Performance Products reopened their doors yesterday after a former employee stepped in to save the ailing company, which went into receivership in March.
Chris Tutton left his role as vice president of sales at Race Face in 2008 to take over as director of OEM sales at Easton Bell Sports. Following what's been described as a "tightly contested bidding war", he yesterday returned to the Canadian company as its new managing director.
The news was welcomed by Darren Mabbott, managing director of Race Face's UK distributors Silverfish, who said: "I've known Chris and worked with him for over 12 years. He's passionate about Race Face, focuses on quality and innovation, and brings a high level of professionalism to the table. Race Face will thrive under Chris's control, and the future once again looks bright."
The business will remain based in Vancouver, Canada, close to the North Shore, and "key employees" look set to be rehired, with production expected to restart within a few weeks. 2012 products will start shipping almost immediately, including Turbine chainrings and SIXC and NEXT cranksets and handlebars. Race Face say warranties will be honoured on all older products.
Tutton will continue to work for Easton as a contractor, and Bernie Doering, senior vice president of global sales in Easton's action sports division – which includes Easton, Bell, Giro and Blackburn – has talked of the "synergy that can be created with the two companies".
North Shore local Chris Tutton is the new man at the helm of Canadian mountain bike component makers Race Face
Tutton, who began his career at Race Face in 1994 as a customer service rep, helped push sales to over $15 million per year during his tenure as VP of sales, so he's well placed to rebuild the business. "I've always believed in the Race Face brand and in the quality of the products we make," he said. "We'll build upon a very solid foundation and continue to meet the needs of our current customers, while expanding our market and focusing our product line."
Derek Wills, Race Face's former global operations manager and most recently North American sales and business development manager, has also returned, as a junior partner.
This return of key personnel has delighted long-time Race Face sponsored rider Brett Tippie (Rocky Mountain), who said, in typically ebullient style: "Talk about a fairytale ending and wicked new beginning for these guys! How cool is it to be able to keep it in the homeland? And they’re bringing back the crew that made Race Face legit. As I’ve said before, Race Face is the cat's ass! Stay tuned for more news – I’ve already heard a rumour of 83mm carbon cranks!"