Human Resources, Manufacturing, and Retail

Wolverine Worldwide names Gene McCarthy president of Merrell brand

August 23, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Wolverine Worldwide names Gene McCarthy president of Merrell brand
Gene McCarthy. Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide has named footwear-industry veteran Gene McCarthy president of the Merrell brand, effective Monday.

“Billion-dollar brand”

“I am thrilled to have Gene join the Merrell team, as it continues its drive to be the first billion-dollar brand in our company's history," said Blake W. Krueger, chairman/CEO and president of Wolverine Worldwide. "Gene McCarthy is a visionary leader with a passion for brands and consumers.” 

Krueger said the Merrell brand “has been and continues to be a leader in the outdoor space and a jewel within the Wolverine portfolio. 

Merrell outdoor/performance footwear and the recently acquired Sperry Top-Sider line are the two largest-selling brands Rockford-based Wolverine has, according to Merrell vice president Craig Throne.

Throne said Wolverine made the decision that it was “time for us to put a 100-percent focused president” on the Merrell brand alone.

Under Armour SVP

McCarthy has more than 30 years of experience driving brands to accelerated growth around the world and is a recognized leader in the footwear and apparel industry, according to Wolverine.

McCarthy joins the Rockford-based global footwear company from his current position as senior vice president in the footwear division of Under Armour, a Baltimore-based corporation that develops and markets branded performance apparel, footwear and accessories.

Under Armour had net revenue of $1.835 billion in FY12, a 24-percent increase over the prior year. Its footwear revenue in 2012 was $239 million, a 32-percent increase over the prior year.

McCarthy’s experience in footwear also includes serving as president of Timberland and senior vice president of Global Footwear at Reebok. He has also had many years of experience at Nike.

McCarthy holds a B.S. in marketing from Fordham University.

"It's an honor to join this industry-leading performance brand," McCarthy said. "I have long admired Merrell's strong growth and broad global appeal. I am excited to join this talented team to pursue the significant opportunities that lie ahead, as we capitalize on the brand's compelling point of view and remarkable products."

Performance Group

Wolverine has three operating groups, with Merrell being part of the Performance Group headed by Jim Zwiers.

Other brands in the Performance Group are Saucony, Chaco, Patagonia Footwear and Cushe.

In July, Wolverine reported record net sales of $587.8 million, a jump of 88 percent over the prior year second quarter, because of the corporation’s major acquisition last winter of another company, Performance & Lifestyle Group. That acquisition added Sperry, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds brands to the Wolverine portfolio.

The Performance Group’s net sales for the second quarter were $199.7 million.

"Gene's global experience and successful track record in the athletic and outdoor markets make him an excellent fit for the Merrell brand," Zwiers said. "We are excited to welcome Gene to the team and believe he is uniquely qualified to lead the Merrell brand in its vision to be the world's favorite outdoor brand, delivering growth through innovative products and a fanatical connection to the consumer."

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