2013 Press Release: David Labistour, CEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)

Image: (L-R) Mark Leung, David Labistour, Lionel Gadoury RGD 

"Design thinking allows us to make sense of our complex, exponentially changing world and address the needs of our customers, communities, economy and ecology." David Labistour, CEO of MEC, DesignThinker of the Year 2013

Award designed by Jacknife and fabricated using innovative 3-D printing technology by Agile Manufacturing.


Nominated by Dianne Semark, Design Lead at MEC

David encourages staff to be entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative. He understands that part of taking risks is the possibility of failure. What comes out of failures – making mistakes, asking curious questions – is what drives innovation to greater heights, sparks improvements in how we work, and builds confidence in ways never expected. 


More than three years ago, David identified that the Co-op needed to rebrand to remain relevant to its members. No one knew more than David that rebranding the 42-year old iconic Canadian organization would elicit a range of responses, from excitement to backlash. Yet through the entire rebrand process, David understood the big picture and fearlessly steered the Co-op in the direction it needs to go. His vision to rebrand MEC has signalled positive change to our members and the public. And his tireless efforts have signalled our CEO’s courage, conviction, and commitment to staff members, including those who worked alongside him through the rebranding process.


David’s five-year vision for MEC is to be the preferred brand for people leading active outdoor lifestyles. To accomplish this vision, he’s led a holistic approach to rebranding MEC by analyzing all departments, elements, and touch points. Since 2009, MEC has diversified product assortments, invested in e-commerce and intuitive website navigation, redesigned store layouts, and implemented an activity strategy to support MEC as an activity hub. The results are consistent increases in year over year sales, and a total membership that now tops 4 million.

The final piece of the rebrand was to visually communicate all the updates and innovations that have been happening at MEC. David ensured that MEC’s updated brand identity looks, relates, resonates with, and is reflective of, what members and future members are looking for in their outdoor retailer of choice. There have been, and will continue to be, growing pains with this re- brand – the mountain was an iconic symbol of Canadiana – but David knew that the time was right to show the world that MEC was more than a mountain logo.


Rotman Management magazine featured David in its Spring 2014 issue, in an interview by the Director of Rotman DesignWorks, Mark Leung. Read the article here.

Click here to see the press release announcing the 2013 DesignThinker of the Year selection. 


*Portrait photography shot by Andrew Querner and Jake Stangel

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