16 Sep Wolverine Names New Presidents for Sperry Top-Sider and Keds
Wolverine Worldwide promoted Rick Blackshaw, formerly president of Keds, as president, Sperry Top-Sider. Chris Lindner, former head of marketing for Saucony and most recently chief marketing officer and senior vice president of business development for Sperry Top-Sider, was promoted to president, Keds.
Blackshaw served most recently as president of Keds, where he led the brand to a global resurgence with a focused consumer-centric business strategy, outstanding product and compelling marketing. Today, Keds is one of the fastest growing brands in the industry. Blackshaw came to Keds from Converse, where he was the vice president and general manager of the Chuck Taylor footwear business.
“Rick Blackshaw is a dynamic, strategic leader with an unrivaled passion for brands and consumers,” said Blake W. Krueger, Chairman, CEO, and President of Wolverine Worldwide. “What Rick and team have been able to do with the Keds brand is nothing short of remarkable, and the Company is pleased to have such a proven and energized executive leading our second largest brand, Sperry Top-Sider.”
“Rick’s experience building global brands has served Keds well, and we have every confidence in Rick’s ability to take Sperry Top-Sider to new heights around the world,” said Andy Simister, president of the Lifestyle Group. “I am excited by Rick’s enthusiasm and vision and believe he is the right leader to firmly establish Sperry Top-Sider as a global lifestyle brand.”
Commented Blackshaw, “I am incredibly proud to lead such a great team that everyday lives and breathes Sperry Top-Sider. Sperry is one of the coolest, most beloved brands in consumers’ closets, and I could not be more excited about the opportunities that lay ahead – both here in the U.S. and around the world.”
Prior to his current appointment, Lindner served as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of business development for Sperry Top-Sider. Prior to that, he was the chief marketing officer and senior vice president of global sales for the company’s Saucony brand. Before joining Wolverine Worldwide, Lindner spent nearly 10 years at Nike in a variety of senior marketing roles.
Krueger commented, “Chris Lindner has a diverse brand background building iconic, global brands including Saucony, Converse and Nike. We expect that his absolute passion for consumer engagement will help drive the continued global expansion of Keds, whose recent growth has been led by Brave Girl #1, Taylor Swift.”
Simister added, “Chris has consistently demonstrated his talent and passion for taking brands to new heights. He possesses all the skills necessary to lead Keds into its expected next great chapter of growth.”
Commented Lindner, “I’m proud to join the amazing team at Keds. The team has set a bold vision to become the leading brand for teen girls around the globe, and I look forward to being a part of the next step of growth for this iconic American brand.”
Wolverine’s family of brands include: Merrell®, Sperry Top-Sider®, Hush Puppies®, Saucony®, Wolverine®, Keds®, Stride Rite®, Sebago®, Cushe®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST® and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of popular brands including Cat® and Harley-Davidson®.