In late June, Nike, Inc. announced the formation of a new stand-alone category business unit for its line of All Conditions Gear (ACG) outdoor products. The new unit, Nike Outdoor Products, will be based in Oregon. The company also announced the appointment of Gordon McFadden as president of the business unit.

Formerly president for Helly Hansen (North America) Inc., United States operations, McFadden will be responsible for driving the direction of Nike Outdoor Products, including the launch of the new snowboard hardgoods line.

According to McFadden, the snowboard program will be previewed to the press in November, and the company will begin showing the hardgoods to retailers in December.

The decision to participate at the different winter trade shows around the country has not yet been made. “We are targeting top-end specialty stores for the snowboarding products,” says McFadden.

The hardgoods program will consist of boards, boots, and bindings, although the specifics have not been finalized, such as whether the company will show a step-in boot and binding system for the winter of 1999 or 2000. As part of the snowboarding program, Nike will continue with its ACG snowboarding apparel, debuted to the market two years ago.

The company is still working with Marker, the ski-binding and snowboard-product manufacturer, on the development of the snowboarding products, although the snowboards will not be made at the Salt Lake City, Utah Marker snowboard factory as previously believed.

The announcement marks the transformation of Nike ACG from a category within Nike to a separate, stand-alone business unit. The company says this move underscores its commitment to developing authentic, outdoor activity-specific footwear, apparel, and equipment for the serious outdoor athlete and enthusiast. Nike has been committed to product innovation in the outdoor industry for nearly twenty years, says the company.

McFadden says he’s joined the business at an opportune time as sales of ACG footwear are surging and the business unit has a strong position in the outdoor market: “This is a tremendously exciting time to be coming on board with ACG. With ACG becoming a stand-alone business unit under Nike, we have a great opportunity to grow our outdoor business and prove ourselves as a serious leader in this industry. I welcome this challenge.”