Ed Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, steps down after 36 years at the helm. He will be replaced by president Lauren Hobart, the first Dick’s CEO from outside the Stack family.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
  • The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ed Stack, will step down in February, the company announced Tuesday.
  • The 850-chain retailer’s current president, Lauren Hobart, has been elected by the board of directors to become CEO and president from February 2021.
  • Stack, who has been CEO since he bought the business from his father in 1984, will remain executive chairman and continue as chief merchant
  • In his position as CEO, Stack made the controversial decision to limit the gun selection at Dick’s stores, telling Business Insider that the move was a “blessing in disguise.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Tuesday that Ed Stack would step down as chief executive and be replaced by the company’s current president, Lauren Hobart, early next year.

The American retailer said in a statement that Stack would transition to executive chairman and continue as chief merchant from February 1, 2021, while overseeing growth initiatives for Dick’s.

Stack and his siblings bought the business from his father, Richard “Dick” Stack, in 1984, when he was 29 years old, and he has been CEO ever since.

Dick’s, which was founded in New York 1948, is now based in Pittsburgh and has more than 850 stores across the US.

In 2002, Stack took Dick’s Sporting Goods public.

“This is the perfect time for this transition,” Stack said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing to lead merchandising, product development and several strategic growth initiatives while supporting Lauren as a trusted advisor.

“She has proven herself to be a capable, innovative and respected leader who has helped drive our business and our culture.”

Dick’s board of directors elected Lauren Hobart, the current president of Dick’s, to become president and CEO of the company from February.

Hobart has more than 25 years of finance, consumer, and retail experience, Dick’s said, and worked at Pepsi for 14 years. She joined Dick’s in 2011 as chief marketing officer and was appointed president in 2017 before joining the board of directors in 2018.

She is the first CEO from outside the Stack family.

Hobart said: “For nearly 10 years, I have witnessed first-hand his commitment to Dick’s values, to our teammates, customers and the communities we serve. I am fortunate to have Ed as a mentor and look forward to leading the company into this next phase of growth with Ed and our senior management team.

“Leading the company that Ed built is truly a privilege and an honour,” she added.

The announcement comes as Dick’s Sporting Goods’ sales have surged during the pandemic, with more shoppers investing in fitness gear and apparel after the closure of gyms.

In October 2019, Stack sat down with Business Insider to talk about his book “It’s How We Play the Game,” which details the rise of the retailer. He also went into depth about his relationship with his father and predecessor, Richard.

Stack also spoke at length about his company’s decision to move away from gun sales in 2018, saying it was a “blessing in disguise” because of the better sales performance in stores where hunting equipment was removed.

After a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 dead in February 2018, Stack decided to limit the gun selection in Dick’s stores.