14 May Crocs Names Brand President, Continues Turnaround
Crocs Inc. named consumer brand management expert Andrew Rees president of the Crocs brand. Rees also will assume the role of principal executive officer until the company’s search for a permanent chief executive officer is successfully concluded.
Rees will report to the Crocs board of directors. He is expected to join the company officially on or about June 9. Rees joins Crocs from LEK Consulting, a global management consulting firm with offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. He founded and led LEK’s retail and consumer products practice for 14 years, building the practice into one of LEK’s major consulting areas.
Rees has extensive experience in the branded footwear arena with many well-known global brands. Previously, he held senior leadership positions at Reebok International, where he served as vice president of strategic planning and vice president of retail operations. He is a graduate of London University’s Imperial College of Science and Technology.
“Andrew Rees is a proven leader in consumer products branding, marketing and retailing, with a long track record of business success,” said Thomas J. Smach, Crocs chairman of the board and interim CEO. “Andrew has led the LEK team that has been working closely with us to help develop our strategic plan and we feel that he is best positioned to lead the Crocs’ management team in executing that plan. Andrew will bring a strong focus and cohesive leadership to building our brand and driving profitable growth for Crocs across the globe. Our board believes strongly in the Crocs brand and, as demonstrated by this hire, we are committed to making the investments needed to thoughtfully and profitably grow the brand on a global basis. We welcome Andrew to the Crocs global leadership team during this time of transition, as we focus on improving returns for shareholders.”
“Crocs is a powerful, exciting global footwear brand with highly differentiated products and tremendous upside potential,” Rees said. “I look forward to working with the Crocs executive team, employees, distributors and our wholesale partners to accelerate the profitable growth of the Crocs brand and business around the world, as guided by an appropriate strategic plan.”
“As previously stated, 2014 will be a significant transition period for the company,” Smach added. “We started the year by closing a $200 million investment in Crocs by Blackstone, who partnered with us because they recognize the tremendous opportunity in the Crocs brand and global franchise, and believe our company has the infrastructure and products to enable continued growth across the wide range of geographies and channels through which we operate. We partnered with Blackstone because we believe their consumer and retail investing experience, coupled with their network of value-added resources, makes them a strong partner for Crocs.
“We have been buying back stock under our previously announced $350 million stock repurchase program,” Smach continued, “and now we have taken an important next step in our transition plan by hiring a President who has global marketing, brand building and retail expertise in order to execute on our short-term and long-term priorities and strategic plans, which include a sharper strategic focus on more profitable top-line growth. Andrew’s immediate focus will be on improving financial performance, particularly in the Americas and Japan, as well as enhancing our global retail execution. As we increasingly focus on profitable growth and retail excellence, we will moderate the pace of our investments in new retail stores; while remaining resolute on creating long-term value for Crocs shareholders.
“In the meantime, the board of directors continues our search for the right CEO candidate,” Smach continued. “ I will step down as interim CEO when Andrew joins the company on June 9. We will not compromise our requirements on recruiting the right CEO, which we believe is one of the most important and impactful things our board can do for its employees and shareholders. We are committed to finding a CEO who has the deep industry, product and operational experience needed to take Crocs to the next level.”