New FDRA Chairman and Leadership Team Take Office – Focused on Strengthening the $100B Footwear Industry Post COVID Pandemic 

New FDRA Chairman and Leadership Team Take Office – Focused on Strengthening the $100B Footwear Industry Post COVID Pandemic 

June 2, 2021
Contact: Andy Polk

Washington, DC — The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) today announced the start of a new executive leadership team to guide the footwear industry’s business and trade association over the next two years.  The new leadership team was approved at FDRA’s March 24th virtual board meeting and took effect June 1, 2021.

Cliff Sifford, Vice Chairman and CEO at Shoe Carnival, has been selected to serve as the Chairman of FDRA.  Cliff has served in various leadership positions with FDRA for several years and his elevation from FDRA vice chairman was unanimous.

Jennifer Bendall, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at NIKE, will now serve as FDRA’s Vice Chairman after having served as Treasurer. Josue Solano, CEO at BBC International, will take the helm as FDRA’s Treasurer.  FDRA’s most recent past chairman Mike Jeppesen, formerly of Wolverine Worldwide, will also serve as an Ex-Officio member of the FDRA Executive Committee.

“I am honored to take the helm of our industry’s most effective, innovative and collaborative organization.  There has been no greater tool to serve the industry during these unprecedented times than FDRA,” said FDRA Chairman Cliff Sifford “Our industry is changing dramatically and FDRA continues to be the platform by which companies get vital information and can work together to solve common issues and challenges.  We will continue to find new ways to engage and educate the industry on a variety of issues to increase efficiencies – driving our members tremendous value from design to retail. If you’re not a member of FDRA – join us. There has never been a greater membership value proposition than there is now.”

“I’m honored to have been selected as Vice Chairman.  FDRA is of tremendous importance to footwear companies across the globe,” said Jennifer Bendall “We at NIKE understand how important a strong and vibrant trade association is to the overall competitiveness of our industry. I look forward to working with our leadership team to guide FDRA’s efforts, so our industry gets stronger together.”

“Under former chairman Mike Jeppesen’s leadership, FDRA has enhanced its brand and developed into a more robust and professional organization focused on driving value to every member.”  said Matt Priest, President and CEO of FDRA.  “From the onset of the Trump tariffs to the acquisition of the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY) to the challenges of navigating a pandemic, Mike lead FDRA through some of our most challenging and transformational times. As our leadership team resets, I’m excited that Cliff Sifford is now taking the reins as chairman.  Cliff has been active with FDRA for many years and brings a lifetime of footwear industry leadership to our ranks.  I’m also extremely pleased that Jennifer Bendall will continue to serve in our leadership team, now as Vice Chairman.  Jennifer is an amazing leader providing key knowledge on the political and regulatory challenges our industry faces and effective ways to address those challenges.”

At over 95% of the entire industry, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) is the largest and most respected footwear trade association in the U.S. It represents and serves the entire footwear industry from small family owned footwear businesses to global footwear companies, as well as domestic manufactures, importers, and retailers. In all, it supports more than 250 companies and over 500 brands designing, producing, and selling great footwear to consumers all over the globe.