Under Armour Taps McCarthy as Shoe Chief

Under Armour announced Thursday the appointment of Gene McCarthy to the post of SVP of footwear.

McCarthy will relocate from Boston to begin work at the Baltimore-based athletic firm on Aug. 10.

A veteran of the athletic footwear world, McCarthy resigned as co-president of Timberland on July 17 after three years of service. Previously, he was SVP of global footwear at Reebok and spent more than 21 years at Nike, where he held several positions including global director of sales and retail marketing for the Jordan brand.

McCarthy said he had been in touch with Under Armour executives for some time but that he was asked to join the company “in very recent weeks.”

His first order of business will be to add manpower to the footwear department and continue charging ahead in the running category.

“We have to attract world-class talent. We have wonderful people in the building now, and we need to build on that structure. We also need to take running to the next step. Under Armour made a wonderful first impression with the running category. Now we want to build on that because it is the true performance category that crosses over to all sports,” said McCarthy.

Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsOneSource, was upbeat about Under Armour’s new hire.

“He’ll be terrific in the job,” Powell said. “[Gene] is a guy who really understands the athletic market and has a great brand sense.” He added that McCarthy will need to focus on bringing costs down in the footwear category.

“Under Armour doesn’t have a lot of leverage in the marketplace because of their size, and they are paying more than they need to for footwear. Consequently, the shoes are somewhat overpriced and low-margin. They are going to have to really work on how to take some of the cost out of the product and bring the prices down to be a little more competitive.”

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