Human Resources and Manufacturing

Wolverine Worldwide sheds jobs

December 13, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Wolverine Worldwide’s major acquisition of a cluster of national shoe brands one year ago has had a ripple effect, resulting in the elimination of about 90 jobs over the next few months at the shoe corporation’s headquarters in Rockford.

At the same time, the company plans to hire 70 professional employees in Rockford during 2014.

Consolidation

Sixty full-time employees and 30 temporary workers in customer service and consumer relations positions in Rockford were advised that those functions will be consolidated at a call center in Richmond, Ind., which Wolverine acquired in the $1.24-billion deal completed in October 2012.

Wolverine almost doubled its annual revenue — to about $2.5 billion — when it acquired the Performance + Lifestyle Group from Collective Brands, which is headquartered in Boston.

PLG consists of the Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds shoe brands.

Christi Cowdin, director of investor relations and communications at Wolverine, said the Indiana call center “has a long history there in Richmond, with the brands we acquired.”

She said there is “a wonderful level of expertise there, and we wanted to consolidate the function for all brands in our portfolio in one place,” adding it was “just more of a natural progression.”

Hiring

Cowdin said Wolverine is also “growing our talent base here in Michigan,” with the addition of numerous positions since the acquisition.

“We have another 70 professional positions that are in the plans for 2014,” Cowdin added.

West Michigan presence

Wolverine Worldwide has about 1,500 employees in West Michigan, most at its headquarters and at the manufacturing plant in Big Rapids.

Others are in Cedar Springs, Howard City and at the GRid70 office building in downtown Grand Rapids.

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