Expanded Wolverine Reorganizes Its Brand Groups

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Rockford, MI–Wolverine Worldwide today announced a reorganization of its four operating groups into three. The move follows the company’s acquisition of Collective Brands’ Performance + Lifestyle Group, which included Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds brands.

According to Blake Krueger, Wolverine’s chairman/ceo, the new alignment will maximize brand synergies and leverage global growth opportunities.

“The acquisition of the Performance & Lifestyle Group has been transformational for our company and has created many new opportunities for global growth, brand building, and operational excellence,” said Krueger, Wolverine.  “Today, we are taking important steps to better align the team and realize our vision of having the best brands, products, operating platform, and consumer experiences in the industry.”

The three operating groups—each lead by a group president—will be:

●Heritage Group comprised of Wolverine, Caterpillar Footwear, Bates, Sebago, Harley-Davidson Footwear, and HyTest brands and led by Ted Gedra.  Gedra has been a group president since 2007 and has held several senior management positions during his 27-year career with Wolverine.

●Lifestyle Group comprised of Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite Children’s Group, Hush Puppies, Keds, and Soft Style brands and led by Mark Neal.  Neal previously served as group president for Hush Puppies, Soft Style, and Cushe and is adding three PLG brands  to his responsibilities.  He has held senior management roles of increasing responsibility during his 18-year tenure with the company.

●Performance Group  comprised of the Merrell, Saucony, Chaco, Patagonia Footwear, and Cushe brands and led by Jim Zwiers.  He led the former Outdoor Group since 2009 and has held a variety of senior roles in retail, legal, administration, international, business strategy and development, and global brand leadership during his 15-year career with Wolverine.

The company also announced today that Gregg Ribatt, former president/ceo of the Performance & Lifestyle Group, will be leaving to pursue other opportunities outside the industry following a transition period during which he will help migrate the business to the new organization structure.

“The moves today represent one more step in our evolution as the world’s leading and most-loved portfolio of brands,” Krueger added.