Finish Line Adds Key Executives

As Finish Line Inc. continues to work on customer service, its online business and acquisitions, the Indianapolis-based athletic retailer should get a boost from two new outside executive appointments, both announced this week.

Terry Ledbetter, most recently VP of information technology at Dick’s Sporting Goods, has been appointed chief information officer and will report to President and COO Steve Schneider.

According to Chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon, Ledbetter’s focus on improving the company’s technological infrastructure will benefit both the brick-and-mortar business and the growing e-commerce division. “We’re focused around customer service and giving better experiences, and we know tech plays a huge role,” he said. “We’re poised for that. We’re going to continue to invest in IT, and our investments are geared to support both sides [of the business].”

The appointment came on the heels of the retirement of longtime Finish Line executive Don Courtney, president of the company’s e-commerce business since 2009. Courtney will remain to oversee the transition, as the company actively searches for his replacement, Lyons said.

“We’re going to bring in someone with outside knowledge into our business,” Lyon said. “This world is growing and changing so fast, so we’ll be out searching for someone with exposure to this segment of the business.”

Lyon noted that the firm continues to see online platforms as big opportunities going forward, particularly e-commerce and mobile buying.

“This is a tremendous part of our growth initiative, and we’re going to invest in it, starting with the leadership,” he said. Finish Line’s goal, he added, is the creation of a seamless experience from in-store to online: “The brand is the brand, and we’ve got to deliver it to the customer in any point of contact.”

The company also announced this week that it hired former LexisNexis executive Donald Gualdoni as VP of business development and corporate strategy. Gualdoni will report to chief administrative officer Gary Cohen.

Finish Line, which hasn’t pursued a major acquisition since the failed merger with Genesco in 2008, will benefit from the combined efforts of Gualdoni and Cohen, Lyon said. “That has not been a successful part of our history, and we’re conscious of that,” he said. “Now we have two senior executives who are accountable to our success outside of the core business, and to the generation of revenue and profits.”

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