Human Resources, Manufacturing, and Retail

Wolverine replaces Merrell president

May 6, 2015
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Wolverine Worldwide names Gene McCarthy president of Merrell brand
Gene McCarthy. Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Wolrdwide said today that Gene McCarthy, who has been serving in the role of president of the company’s Merrell brand, is no longer with the company.

On Monday, Jim Gabel, president of Wolverine’s Performance Group, which includes Merrell, Saucony, Chaco and Cushe, assumed day-to-day leadership of the brand.

Gabel joined the Rockford-headquartered company last June.

“Since Jim’s start with Wolverine, he has spent the vast majority of his time working with the Merrell team to develop a strategy to capitalize on the many global opportunities that exist for Merrell, and we believe that Jim’s direct, day-to-day leadership of the brand is the fastest way to achieve those objectives,” said Christopher Hufnagel, head of strategy, investor relations and communications for Wolverine.

No additional details were provided about McCarthy’s departure.

Hufnagel said more details on Merrell would be discussed as part of Wolverine’s 2Q15 earnings call, slotted for mid-July.

Gabel’s background

Gabel joined Wolverine last June from adidas Group, where he was most recently president of adidas’ Canadian operations.

Prior to his promotion there, he held various senior leadership roles with adidas and Reebok North America.

Before joining adidas, Gabel held leadership roles at Champion and Mizuno.

Wolverine said Gable’s “passion and expertise is product and marketing, and (he) has many years of experience leading large, global lifestyle brands.”

McCarthy’s time at Wolverine

McCarthy first joined Wolverine nearly two years ago. At the time, the company said it was “time for us to put a 100-percent focused president” on the Merrell brand alone, and that McCarthy was the right fit for the job because he is “a visionary leader with a passion for brands and consumers.”

McCarthy is a footwear industry veteran who came to Wolverine from Baltimore-based Under Armour, where he served as senior vice president in the footwear division, of the performance apparel, footwear and accessories brand.

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

Merrell brand

At the time of McCarthy’s hiring, Wolverine set its sights on turning Merrell into the company’s “first billion-dollar brand.”

In February, Wolverine reported its fourth quarter and end of year results, which indicated a positive performance for many of its brands, including Merrell.

“We had a strong close to the year, with nine of our 16 brands generating double-digit revenue growth in the fourth quarter, and our two largest brands, Merrell and Sperry, delivering mid single-digit and high single-digit revenue growth, respectively," said Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide's chairman, CEO and president.

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