Milestone: A View of Life at the Cat

Longtime team members reflect on life at the Cat.

Louis Joseph, global director of strategy & innovation for footwear, Puma SE
“Puma’s entrepreneurial spirit and creative intuition produce exciting concepts and initiatives [every day]. At times, our challenge is deciding what not to do.”

Rob Reid, visual merchandising manager, Puma North America

“Working in the retail division is a new adventure every day. During my 10-year tenure, traveling globally and working with teams all over the world, I’ve made great friends. When I joined in 2003, Puma was on fire, as [were] so many other retailers. Over the years, others hit their peak, [but] Puma has consistently maintained a large fanbase of dedicated consumers who are always looking for what’s new. I’m proud to see my ideas and creativity come to life in the Puma stores.”

Jon Vacca, VP of customer relations & IT, Puma North America

“Many brands have tried to market themselves as sustainable, but Puma has sustainability ingrained in its DNA. This commitment is one of the reasons I’ve remained here for nearly 15 years. We’re fortunate to be part of Kering. It brings a thoughtful approach to Puma, [and] it will undoubtedly help Puma refine itself in a way we wouldn’t be able to do on our own.”

Cyril Hottot, CFO, Puma North America

“I discovered Puma as a high school kid in France when it was leading the trends with its iconic Puma Suedes — and as a football fan, Puma has always been on my radar. Years later, when I was at PPR [now Kering] in Paris, [the company] acquired Puma [and] I thought, What a great venture for us to partake in. I’ve learned that as a brand we must be able to react quickly to meet demands within our own vertical retail channel as well as with our wholesale partners. I feel like we’re about to embark on a new chapter.”

Helmut Fischer, senior adviser, Puma SE

“After working for Puma for 35 years, I’m now passing on my experiences to younger colleagues. Since my first days, Puma’s had [its own] way of doing things — and part of its unique DNA is the fun the brand reflects. [Over time], I’ve collected 4,000 signed autograph cards, antique catalogs, original photographs, shoes and clothing. One of the biggest changes came in 1986, when we became a [public] company. At first, it felt like losing [our] identity as a family-owned business. It wasn’t until Jochen Zeitz took over as CEO in 1993 that we regained [our former] feeling of being a special brand with huge potential. We work on unlocking this potential every day.”

Theo Keetell, senior director of marketing, Puma North America
“Having worked at Puma for 10 years, one of my favorite moments was walking around Boston one weekend [when] I started seeing a lot of kids wearing some Pumas I was pushing at the time. Those shoes didn’t get a lot of love within our building at the time, [but] we stuck our necks out and took a chance. The landscape of the business has changed since I joined. Talking to consumers was less complicated — it was almost formulaic. Now, social media continues to explode, the retail environment [has changed] and the consumer is in control. I love it because it forces us to stay on our toes, stay plugged into what’s going on every moment, think differently and embrace evolution.”

Michelle Fader, director of vendor compliance, Puma North America
“No matter where I travel, people know the Puma brand. Working here, I’ve gained a greater knowledge and appreciation for sports and athletes on a global level, [and] meeting the Puma athletes is always special. It’s incredible to look back over 11 years to see where we are today, from manual to faster automated processes and the enhancements in the overall supply chain.”

Bethany Allard, merchandise manager for women’s lifestyle & fitness footwear, Puma North America
“Since joining as an intern in 2010, I’ve worked with talented people in sales, merchandising, product management and design, and received amazing coaching from mentors throughout the company. Credibility is key. As a brand rooted in sport and fashion, our ability to speak to and be in front of the trends is so important.”

Adam Petrick, global director of brand management, Puma SE

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the industry, it’s the value of confidence at every level. We work hard to give our customers confidence in themselves, whether that’s providing an edge with new performance technologies or providing confidence that you look better and are more stylish than the next person. It’s this confidence that inspires Puma and the industry as a whole to continually push ourselves to launch the next product and the next collection.”

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