WEB EXCLUSIVE: Patagonia CEO addresses GW business students

Patagonia CEO Michael Crooke admitted Wednesday that “dirtbags” are his favorite people. Speaking in Funger Hall to about 80 people, mostly MBA students from the School of Business and Public Management, he explained that they are the consumers who truly appreciate Patagonia’s products and company mission.

Crooke said Patagonia is not a typical outdoor clothing company because it claims its roots in “dirtbag” culture, that of gritty outdoorsmen.

It has also become infamous for its radical approach to clothing production, striving to “make the best quality stuff with the least amount of harm (to the environment),” according to founder Yvon Chouinard.

The lecture, titled “ReEvolution of Business: Strategies for the 21st century,” was directed towards MBA students to encourage them to perpetuate the company’s commitment to balance in both large and small corporations.

Crooke credits the success of Patagonia to that commitment.

“A successful ecosystem is one that works together,” he said. “That’s the way a successful company works too.”

He elaborated by recounting the near-failures of several other outdoor clothing companies he has worked for, explaining that each one was too directed towards either the business aspect or the production aspect of the company. Patagonia, however, keeps itself in check by dedicating
equal time to both.

“I thought it would be interesting to hear a CEO speak . especially one from Patagonia because they’re so environmentally conscious,” first-year MBA student Bridged Leddy said.

Mr. Crooke’s lecture was sponsored by the University’s Graduate Environmental Professional Association, SBPM, GW Dining Services and the Student Association.

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