Human Resources and Manufacturing

Wolverine Worldwide re-organizes brands and leadership

February 5, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Wolverine Worldwide headquarters
Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide is a maker of footwear and apparel that are sold in about 200 countries. Photo via fb.com

Wolverine Worldwide has reorganized its brands and leadership team

Under the re-organization, Rockford-based Wolverine said yesterday that its brands will be separated into three operating groups: Wolverine Outdoor and Lifestyle Group; Wolverine Boston Group; and Wolverine Heritage Group.

Wolverine also operates its International Group, which focuses on growth outside of North America, and its Consumer Direct Group, which leads the company's direct-to-consumer initiatives.

"I am very excited about our new brand group structure and am especially pleased that we have the talent and depth to promote from within the organization," said Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president, Wolverine Worldwide.

Outdoor and Lifestyle

Long-time Wolverine employee Jim Zwiers will serve as president of the Outdoor and Lifestyle Group.

The group includes the Merrell, Chaco, Cat Footwear, Hush Puppies and Sebago brands.

Zwiers, who has been with Wolverine for 18 years, was most recently president of the International Group. He also held leadership roles within the Merrell, Chaco and Hush Puppies brands.

"Jim Zwiers brings extensive international experience to our most global brands, coupled with his prior experience in leading Hush Puppies, Chaco and Merrell,” Krueger said.

Zwiers will also serve as the Merrell brand president until a hire can be made for the role.

Boston Group

Richie Woodworth will lead the Boston Group as president.

The group includes the Sperry, Saucony and Keds brands.

Woodworth has more than 30 years of footwear and apparel brand experience.

He has severed as president of the Saucony brand for nine years.

“Richie Woodworth is a proven leader, innovator and brand builder with significant expertise in growing both performance and lifestyle brands,” Krueger said.

Heritage Group

Thirty-year Wolverine Worldwide veteran Ted Gedra will continue as president of the Heritage Group, a role he has filled for the past nine years.

Wolverine, Bates, Harley-Davidson Footwear and HyTest make up the group.

International Group

With Zwiers moving to the Outdoor and Lifestyle Group, Nick Ottenwess has been promoted to president of the International Group.

Ottenwess has been with Wolverine for more than 25 years and was most recently SVP of finance and operations for the International Group.

“Nick Ottenwess is a veteran of the company and will be able to leverage his recent experience in the International Group — working directly with the team and our more than 200 international partners — in this important role, leading one of our most critical growth initiatives,” Krueger said.

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