Jerry Lee, co-founder of Newton Running, is stepping away from his role as CEO at the athletic brand and making way for a new chief. The company announced today that former DC Shoes executive Joe O’Neil will take the helm as CEO, while Lee will still serve as chairman of the organization.
“I have a lot more gray hair than in 2007, [when the company started], and I recently became a grandfather,” Lee said in a statement, explaining the reasons for the change. “The grandfather part, well that makes the gray worth it. But I want to spend more time with that granddaughter, my family and the community.”
As CEO, O’Neil will lead overall operations for Boulder, Colo.-based Newton Running and will work closely with the current management team, including Lee, co-founder Danny Abshire and president Craig Heisner.
“It is an honor to be working with Jerry Lee and Danny Abshire,” O’Neil said in the statement. “The combination of Danny’s creativity and Jerry’s vision and commitment to social responsibility are inspiring. I’m very excited about the product and the opportunities ahead.”
With 31 years of industry experience, O’Neil most recently was SVP at DC Shoes, owned by Quiksilver (which recently filed for bankruptcy protection). Previously, he held senior leadership roles at brands including Puma, Adidas, Reebok, Fila and Nike.
Though Newton remains a niche player in the ever-growing performance running market, the brand has been making strides. Earlier this year, it opened a new flagship retail store in its hometown of Boulder.