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Bass Pro’s White River division changes up leadership

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Bass Pro Shops’ White River Marine Group manufacturing division named a new president to succeed retiring leader Les Crawford.

Zach Kauk starts at White River immediately and will fully transition on Sept. 1, after Crawford retires from the position he’s held since mid-2017, according to a news release.

“We are very excited for Zach to lead our marine manufacturing division at a momentous time for our company,” Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris said in the release. “Beyond his leadership and expertise, we appreciate Zach’s Midwest sensibilities and keen understanding for the role our products play in helping families make lifelong memories in the outdoors.”

Kauk comes to White River from Deerfield, Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), where he has more than 30 years of global manufacturing and product management experience and most recently was vice president of the corporation’s multibillion-dollar excavation division.

At White River, he’s in charge of more than 110 dealerships inside Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores, as well as 19 free-standing Tracker Boating Center locations. The company sells seven boat brands, including Tracker, Ranger and Nitro, all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides, according to its website.

Kauk’s predecessor, Crawford, became president of Bass Pro’s marine division after an early 2016 name change from Tracker Marine Group. He previously was controller for Bass Pro and vice president for Tracker Marine before a stint as president for Lebanon-based Lowe Boats, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

Crawford’s retirement follows that of Martin MacDonald, Bass Pro’s conversation director, at the end of 2018. Bass Pro also announced earlier this year its longtime president, Jim Hagale, would become acting chief financial officer as Michael McDermott succeeded him.

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