Ann Cavassa has been named president of Saucony, effective immediately. She replaces Pat O’Malley, who was named to the post in January 2016.
According to the brand, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, Rockford, Mich., Cavassa will work to further elevate Saucony’s position as a leading global performance running and lifestyle brand. She will be on the senior leadership team at the parent company and report directly to Richie Woodworth, president of the Wolverine Boston Group.
The naming of Cavassa comes on the heels of fourth-quarter revenues for Wolverine that missed expectations, falling more than 20 percent, according to the company. However, Saucony’s share of running shoes has been stead at 3 percent and ranks number 7 for 2016 and 2017, based on dollar sales data from NPD’s Retail Tracking Service.
To continue to move the company forward, in February it unveiled a new initiative, Global Growth Agenda, which is comprised of three elements: a “product creation engine,” focused on speed-to-market innovation; a digital-direct offense, expected to help Wolverine’s e-commerce grow beyond 20 percent; and international expansion, with a specific focus on China and the Asia-Pacific region. The company expects to invest between $40 million and $45 million in the project.
For the past 20 years Cavassa has been involved with global brand building and innovative product marketing. Most recently, she served as chief customer experience officer and SVP of marketing and apparel for the Brooks Running Co. In this role, she was responsible for driving global brand positioning, creative expression, and wholesale and direct-to-consumer strategies. Prior to this, she held various leadership roles with The Timberland Company, Nike, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Eastern Mountain Sports and Reebok International, among others.
“Anne is a true visionary who drives brand growth through relentless consumer focus, compelling storytelling, and a commitment to marketing and product innovation,” said Woodworth. “Anne’s established connection to the running community will be critical as we continue to transform the brand for the future, expand our distribution channels, and further engage, energize and enhnce the consumer’s journey at all touchpoints.”
Added Cavassa, “Running is about the journey and the meaningful connections we make along the way. I’m so excited to join Saucony as it celebrates its 120th anniversary. With an award-winning product portfolio, a commitment to the consumer experience and an extremely passionate and talented team of people, Saucony is well-positioned to grow its global footprint while celebrating those unique and meaningful connections among runners everywhere. I can’t wait to get started.”
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