In a letter to its dealer network, Bass Pro Shops Founder, Johnny Morris, reassured dealers that the company's future is "unchanged' after three senior staff members resigned.
In late November, Fishing Holdings' management team, consisting of President, Randy Hopper; Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Keith Daffron; and CFO, Mendel Hughes; has resigned from the company. Fishing Holdings, owned by Bass Pro Shops since late 2014, is the maker of Ranger, Stratos and Triton boats.
The letter contained the following:
This was a very sad day for me personally and I know it has to be deeply concerning for many of you as well. There can be no doubt that each of these very fine and most capable men will be sorely missed – we sincerely wish for them the very best.
This development has no doubt caused many of you to have questions and concerns. While we have not fully developed a detailed go forward plan, there are several key points I feel it is important for us to share with you.
• Our deep commitment to the company's future is unchanged.
• There remains in place a fantastic team of committed associates in Flippin, Arkansas that have our full support.
• Recruiting the most talented leaders possible to fill these vacated positions is a top priority.
• We plan to align significant additional resources to further strengthen product offerings and dealer and customer support.
• We will maintain separate new product development teams to ensure unique, differentiated product offerings.
• Maintaining the extraordinarily high-quality product standards of the legendary Ranger brand, developed by Forrest Wood, is considered an absolute top priority.
• We are contemplating moving the production of Triton and Stratos boats from Flippin to increase capacity and enable us to better serve Triton and Stratos dealers and their customers. We believe this action will also free up space for increased production of Ranger brand fresh and saltwater boats and accessories in Flippin. We want to get you and your customers boats, parts and accessories in a timely and efficient manner.
• A strong independent dealer network is vitally important for the success of the Ranger brand. Supporting your efforts to meet and exceed the high expectations customers have come to expect from Ranger remains our primary focus. With that goal in mind, we plan to appoint and convene a dealer council in the very near future.
• To be clear, when we invested in Fishing Holdings one of our primary motivations was investing in the opportunity to work alongside you, the absolute best fishing boat dealers in the world. We remain steadfast in this commitment.
• At this time, we are pursuing renaming Tracker Marine Group and Fishing Holdings to a new, more united "White River Marine Group.' In this regard, we are eager to share and to make available as appropriate many of the significant resources available from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker to help strengthen the Ranger brand and your business. At the same time we respect the need to maintain independence and brand integrity, and in that regard, we have no plans to sell Fishing Holdings brands through Bass Pro Shops stores.
We are excited to share a bright future together and are most grateful for your support.
As Morris mentioned, the production of Triton and Stratos boats could possibly be leaving Flippin, Arkansas plant. This now begs the question of where it would be moved to and what impact it would have on the employs involved in the construction of those lines.