Martin Berendsen has been named VP of sales for the Edison, N.J.-based company, effective Jan. 2. He will report to Geox managing director Diego Bolzonello, who is acting as president of the U.S. business. Berendsen, most recently director for Overland Shoes USA, will also be involved in the product side of the business, acting as liaison between Italy and the States in translating the fashion needs and requirements of the U.S. market. While Berendsen said Geox needs to get sales going here, he also will focus on more general brand building. The big push will be on expanding distribution in top independents and department stores.
According to Berendsen, there has been a misconception about the brand in the past regarding its comfort roots. “Comfort is a given,” he said. “We are an Italian design company with a technology.”
While Geox’s success in the States has focused on children’s, the new exec said the firm would aim to be split evenly between generations. “It’s cool to do kids’,” he said, “but we haven’t spent enough time and energy on men’s and women’s.”
As reported, former U.S. head Gary Champion left the brand in November for the top job at Earth.
— Barbara Schneider-Levy
U.S. Customs Snaps Up Fake Nike Footwear
U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized more than 10,000 pairs of fake Nike sneakers in Savannah, Ga. In an announcement made Wednesday the agency said the counterfeit shoes were labeled as women’s clothing. The seizure was made Dec. 8. A second seizure in Savannah on Dec. 17 netted 1.2 million fake DVDs. The combined value of the two seizures was $551,799. If the goods had been genuine, they would have had a retail value of $1.3 million. “CBP continues to devote time and resources to intercept these fraudulent shipments,” said John Porter, area port director in Savannah.
— Liza Casabona
Knight Moves Shares
Nike Inc. chairman Phil Knight placed $1.32 billion in Nike company stock into three trusts, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Knight moved a total of 20 million shares in three separate transactions. He contributed 6.6 million shares of Class A common stock to The Philip H. Knight 2009 Annuity Trust N1, and 6.7 million shares each to The Philip H. Knight 2009 Annuity Trust N2 and The Philip H. Knight 2009 Annuity Trust N3. These trusts are typically used for estate planning purposes. The company did not return a call seeking comment. The filing said the Nike co-founder still owns 65.7 million shares of common stock, or 13.5 percent of the company, after the move.
— Matthew Lynch