Search Called Off for Boardriders CEO Missing at Sea

Rescue operations in the south of France were called off in the search for Pierre Agnes, the 54-year-old chief executive of Boardriders Inc., the parent company of Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Agnes is still missing at sea after his 36-foot sailboat washed ashore on Tuesday, Jan. 30, without him on board.

Agnes left the docks of Capbreton early Tuesday morning to go fishing, as he often does, and was expected to return later in the morning when thick fog rolled in.

According to news reports, French authorities dispatched boats and helicopters off the coast of southwest France on Tuesday to search for Agnes after his boat washed ashore in nearby Hossegor on the Atlantic coast. They called off the search on Wednesday.

“Early this morning our CEO, Pierre Agnes, did what he did many mornings and went fishing on his beloved boat to start his day. Later in the morning, his boat was recovered on the beach near his hometown, and Pierre has not been heard from since,” Boardriders executives said in a statement released after his disappearance Tuesday. “The Boardriders family and entire surfing world are devastated by this news. Given that the situation on the ground is still evolving, our statements today will be limited. We are concentrating on working with the local authorities on the search and rescue effort and supporting Pierre’s family. Please keep Pierre and his family in your prayers.”

Race Skelton, a Hawaii-based marketer and former Quiksilver intern, posted on Instagram that during his internship, Agnes was one of three people who talked to him like a normal human being. “Pierre was just a manager in Europe Quik at the time but would be at headquarters occasionally,” Skelton wrote. “He was always so cool to everybody, treated people with respect and moved with a calm urgency. When he made it all the way to CEO, it was no shock to me.”

Boardriders, which is the new name of Quiksilver after it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015, was undergoing a major transformation after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2016. Oaktree Capital Management took a major equity stake in the company after a $175 million investment.

Earlier this year, Boardriders acquired its rival, Billabong, in a deal worth about $315 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year.

After the deal closed, Agnes was to become the new president of Boardriders while Dave Tanner of Oaktree was to become the newly named company’s chief executive officer.

Agnes managed Boardriders from the company’s European headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Lux, a coastal city near the border with Spain.