In Person: Industry Execs Sound Off

Executives from across the industry offer their thoughts on Rick Ausick’s successes as a leading innovator in the retail business.

Jay Piccola, President & GM, Puma N.A.
“A few words come to mind when I think of Rick as a businessman and leader: astute, practical, sharp, top of the industry. Not only is Rick one of the savviest businessmen but he also is the friendliest guy in the world and a true gentleman. These qualities have made him such a great partner for Puma through the years. I personally and professionally admire his business acumen and leadership.”

Michael Greenberg, President, Skechers USA Inc.
“Rick is an amazing partner — and I truly mean partner. We work very closely with him and his team, and each time he visits Skechers’ offices, his commitment to his business and fostering strong relationships is clear. He treats his team with amazing respect, guiding them but also allowing them to make decisions. Similarly, he gives our Skechers team the same respect, always listening and absorbing the information we provide. Through his guidance, Skechers has become a leading brand at Famous Footwear. Rick’s passion for the business is truly remarkable. It has been a pleasure to work with him over the past two decades [on building our] business at Famous.”

Jules Schneider, CEO, Aerosoles
“Rick is one of those business people who creates an environment where you want to do things for his company. He is a leader and a partner. He truly looks to find a way to do positive things for both parties in business.”

Sam Edelman, Founder & division president, Sam Edelman Shoe
“I’ve known Rick for 25 years. He’s a charismatic individual with tremendous people skills. He has an aura of fairness and calmness about him, something for which he is well known. He empowers his people, and he draws respect from and develops great relationships with his vendors.”

Bob Campbell, Chairman & CEO, BBC International
“Rick is a good delegator and coach, and he has a lot of respect for his team. Famous has done an incredible job creating a strong footwear retail option. The stores are beautiful and well merchandised and always offer great choices.”

Jim Klein, President, Eastland Shoe Corp.
“Rick has always been a fair business partner who has remained true to his goal of building real partnerships with the brands Famous Footwear carries. His diverse career experience gives him a unique perspective and understanding of the footwear industry’s multifaceted world, and this has helped him and his team address the challenges and opportunities of growing Famous into the largest branded family footwear retailer in the U.S.”

David Allen, VP & GM of North America, Converse
“Rick is a truly great businessman and leader, and believes in real collaboration and partnership. He instills this in his team at Famous Footwear, and it makes it easy to accomplish things and push agendas forward. Because of this, Converse and Famous have and will continue to have a great working relationship. There are so many amazing things that distinguish Rick, from being a very calculated risk-taker to pushing the envelope and believing in the true meaning of partnership. Rick’s mentality has never been [about] quick wins. Instead, he is a real believer in sustaining long-term growth with partners. As a leader, he sets a first-class example by giving back to the community through his participation in the Two Ten Footwear Foundation.”

Kathy Hennessey, Director of merchandising, New Balance
“Rick has led Famous Footwear through change. Famous has been a leader of the evolution in retail with key in-store initiatives and [by connecting with] consumers via social media and marketing. When a business is as well established as Famous’, change is challenging and requires courage and belief in the vision.”

Pete Calichman, VP of national accounts, Saucony

“Rick takes a macro perspective on the market and [brings] a consistent approach to the business. He is always fair and approachable. He is a true partner to the Saucony brand, and his leadership permeates the entire Famous team.”

Chris Walsh, VP of U.S. sales, Reebok
“Rick Ausick has been a true partner in rebuilding the Reebok brand at Famous Footwear. He has put together a strong buying team that understands the consumer and delivers on that, leading to a loyal customer base. We appreciate the support Famous gives to Reebok product and marketing under Rick’s leadership.”

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