Walters Gardens announces new CEO and executive team leadership
Walters Gardens' executive team. From left to right: Ryan Hop, chief operations officer; Christa Steenwyk, vice president of marketing and customer relations; John Walters, chief executive officer; Karin Walters, vice president of product strategy.
Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens

Walters Gardens announces new CEO and executive team leadership

The wholesale nursery's third-generation leadership team prepares for a bright future.

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Walters Gardens announced the leadership transition plan from the current CEO, John Walters, to Karin Walters, his daughter and current vice president of product strategy. John will retain his role as CEO until Oct. 1, 2022 when the transition will take place and he will take on a new role as executive chairman of the board.

Karin Walters is a member of a third-generation leadership team at Walters Gardens, which also includes Ryan Hop, chief operations officer, and Christa Steenwyk, vice president of marketing and industry relationships. Since the executive team at Walters Gardens began succession planning in 2019, it has focused on transitioning from being a smaller company at the helm of one leader, to a larger company guided by a cohesive team of leaders in Karin, Ryan and Christa. Under John’s leadership, Walters Gardens has grown from a smaller company mainly serving the Midwest through bare root sales, mail order and packaged perennials to a respected international presence in the industry.

“It’s been a long process of planning, especially since I love this company and industry so much,” says John Walters. “I’m proud to say that I have a great deal of confidence that not only Karin will do a great job as CEO, but with Ryan Hop and Christa Steenwyk (and myself) rounding out the executive leadership team, Walters Gardens is in a strong position for the future with such a team.”

“I am excited to take on this new role in October and continue to build the dream our family has been working on for many years with the help and support of Christa and Ryan,” says Karin Walters.