MEC appoints new CEO: Philippe Arrata

Longtime CEO David Labistour set to leave on July 1

David Arrata has been a Best Buy Canada executive since 2008 | Sauder School of Business

B.C.-based outdoor equipment chain MEC has appointed Philippe Arrata as its CEO, six months after Business in Vancouver broke the news that CEO David Labistour planned to step down after more than 11 years at the helm.

Arrata was a member of MEC’s board of directors between 2015 and 2018. His day job has been at Best Buy Canada for more than 11 years, most recently as CFO, since November, 2017. There, he oversees finance, strategy, supply chain and the business-to-business department.

His other Best Buy Canada roles include being chief administrative officer and senior vice-president.

Arrata is also an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“I know him a little bit,” Retail analyt and DIG360 owner David Gray told BIV. “In my interactions with him, I’ve been impressed. Even though he is a CFO, he has a wider skill set than just that. I saw him in a presentation talking about modern supply chain challenges and logistics challenges, and I thought he was clear and spot on.”

Arrata has not been a CEO before, however, so this will be a move up.

Gray said that Arrata’s presence on MEC’s board has its advantages, in that he will need a shorter learning curve to be up to speed on the business.

“He would have some relationships already formed,” Gray said. “When you are hired in from the outside, a lot of [the early work] is about forming relationships.”

MEC’s board chair Ellen Pekeles released a statement that called Arratais “highly respected” and she touted his “strong operations background” and ability to strategize.

“I believe passionately in MEC’s purpose and the benefits of leading a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle,” said Arrata in a release.

“I can’t wait to start working with our staff and community to create even more outstanding experiences for our five-million-plus members, while moving MEC forward in an inclusive, thoughtful, and sustainable manner.”