Boating Industry

July 2016

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Page 17 of 43 18 | Boating Industry | July 2016 with Brunswick Corp. CEO Mark Schwabero BY JONATHAN SWEET I n February, Mark Schwabero suc- ceeded longtime Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy, following a nearly two-year stint as president and COO of Brunswick Corporation. Schwabero joined Brunswick in 2004 as president — Mercury Outboards before being named president — Mercury Ma- rine in 2008. We caught up to Schwabero in May to talk about what he sees for the future of the industry and Brunswick, and other top issues facing boating today. Boating Industry: As we head into the summer, what are you hearing from dealers? SCHWABERO: In general, dealers are showing some optimism. … They feel their inventories are in pretty good shape and, in fact, some are reporting it might be a little lower than they'd like to have it going into the season, which basically says they've had some retail leading up to the season. From the data out there … retail's up about 10 percent through March, which is about same as it was last year. … I think everyone would be satisfied if there was an- other year that showed similar growth to what we saw last year. Boating Industry: Are you seeing any parts of the country performing better or worse than others? SCHWABERO: There's been a pretty good geographic mix. ... I think there's always shorter-term cause and effect that people think is going to [cause regional downturns] than actually happens. We're just seeing a good mix from a geographic perspective. Places like Texas, Florida, Minnesota, some others … those bell- wether states have been good so far. Boating Industry: Any segments of the market that have been particularly strong? SCHWABERO: We're continuing to see some of the strength in pontoons and alu- minum fishing, although at a little lower growth rate than we've seen post-recovery, but still good growth in those segments. Center console is showing strength in the saltwater category. I don't see anything really emerging new. The pontoon and fishing boats is something that has been there for a little while and has just continued. Boating Industry: How about the sterndrive segment? SCHWABERO: I think sterndrives are re- ally a viable part of the market. As a cat- egory, as the three-liter has gone away, the category is naturally going to be shrinking in size. I think it's more a case that the out- boards, for certain types of vessels, have come such a long way in improvement that it's a viable alternative. That's just the reality of the situation. The good things on the outboard side and the remixing of products are changing some of the dynamics out there. There are clearly boats out there that are best served by having sterndrive product in them. Boating Industry: The company recently named Huw Bower as president of the Boat Group, a role that hasn't been filled since 2014. Why make that move now and what does he bring to the role? SCHWABERO: When I became COO in May 2014, I really became the de facto president of the Boat Group. Having been in Mercury and really understanding Mer- cury operations, the COO role allowed me to have folks like Huw and Tim Schieck and Jeff Kinsey and other significant members of the boat teams working directly for me, Mark Schwabero

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