Ibex Names New CEO

White River Junction — Ibex Outdoor Clothing has hired a new chief operating officer, a position that has been vacant since founder and CEO John Fernsell left the company earlier this year.

Ted Manning has assumed the helm of the 16-year-old company that manufactures and sells technical Merino wool apparel and accessories.

Manning, who has moved his family from Peterborough, N.H., to the Upper Valley, had a 18-year career with Eastern Mountain Sports and recently served as executive vice president.

“Ibex has a solid mission and doesn’t need broad changes. The company needs to continue to grow down the path its already taken,” Manning said Friday.

The company, which was started in Woodstock in 1997 by Fernsell and Peter Helmetag, has sales of about $25 million with its largest area of growth in direct sales to customers, he said.

In 2009, the company moved from Woodstock to Ballardvale Drive in White River Junction, a building that had been the home of Miller Nissan and Dean Hill Saab. At the time the company had 23 employees.

Now, 45 people work in the building, and the company has 15 other employees in its two retail stores in Boston and Seattle, Manning said.

Although direct sales is the fastest growing area in the company, the wholesale division is still the greatest revenue generator and “offers an opportunity for future success,” the company said in a news release. “Our ability to continue to nurture and grow our loyal customer base is a part of the Ibex opportunity I am really excited about,” Manning said in the release.

Ibex buys its Merino wool from sustainable sources New Zealand and manufactures 75 percent of its products in California. The other 25 percent is made in Canada. Part of the mission of the company is to keep manufacturing in North America, Manning said Friday.

Ibex is a portfolio company of the Greenwich, Conn., private equity firm North Castle Partners, which, in partnership with CMS Companies, invested in Ibex in 2010. North Castle is a hands-on investor that focuses its investments in areas that benefit from health, wellness and active living trends, the firm’s website says.

Ibex will continue to focus on direct sales and building brand and existing product strength in the market, Manning said.

Manning is an avid cyclist, fly fisherman and paddler. He and his wife and three children will rent in Quechee Lakes for a year while looking for a home to buy in the Upper Valley, he said.

“I really like what this company is doing and what they stand for. That’s what attracted me to this job.”