Sperry Hires Bill Bettencourt

Sperry Top-Sider is adding to its team.

Footwear industry vet Bill Bettencourt this week joined the company in the role of SVP of sales, marketing and business development, Sperry told Footwear News. Bettencourt comes from Vans, where he served as VP of product and marketing.

Bettencourt said a mutual friend at Sperry parent company Collective Brands Inc. introduced him to Matt Rubel. “I started out in the athletic industry and I went into the skate industry, and I got on a great ride,” Bettencourt said. “Now it’s Sperry Top-Sider. I firmly believe this is the company that is going to make big waves in this industry, and I think I can bring a lot to help them get them there.”

In his new position, Bettencourt will be responsible for creating and executing new marketing programs, as well as developing business opportunities and managing the brand’s wholesale partner network. He will report to Sperry Brand President Craig Reingold in the Lexington, Mass., headquarters.

“We have the opportunity to grow internationally and domestically, even in new channels of distribution,” Bettencourt said. “The women’s business is gaining momentum, and apparel and accessories [have potential.]”

Bettencourt also flagged branded retail as a potential growth avenue, calling it an “opportunity to showcase the brand.” (Sperry began opening standalone stores last month and bowed its fourth retail location in Dallas on Thursday.)

Looking ahead, Bettencourt said that while the environment remains challenging, opportunities do exist for the Sperry brand.

“2010 is going to be a recovery period [for the industry as a whole],” he said, “but the opportunity is that as [retailers] look to differentiate themselves, they’ll look for brands that are fresh and that are performing for them. There is some great upside for the [Sperry] brand in 2010.”

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