In a world dominated by shifting tastes and splashy new technology, these in-the-trenches power brokers prove that a steady hand pays off.
Here are the the most established players.
See who else made the FN Power List 2019:
• The Dramatic Makeover
• The Independents
• The Tastemakers
• The Dynasties
• On the Rise
• The Guiding Forces
• The Conversation Starters
• The Design Stars
• The Retail Innovators
• The Shoe Dogs
• The Business Titans
• The Influentials
Glenn Barrett, 65
Founder & CEO, Ortholite
Barrett and team are aggressively putting the focus on eco-friendly products with the launch of Hybrid, a patent-pending insole formula that blends 5% recycled rubber and 15% production waste foam. The insoles are used in over 250 shoe brands.
Alison Bergen, 37
Following a challenging few years, Bergen has strong goals for the brand’s relaunch, including doubling business within three years through wholesale partnerships, becoming relevant to a wider audience and beefing up its global supply chain. Aerosoles, now owned by Alden Global Capital, opened a pop-up store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in October.
Key Execs: Mirco Scoccia, Jenny Dwork, Mike Shirey
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Steen Borgholm, 45
CEO, Ecco Sko A/S
Coming off record revenues for 2018, the company continues to elevate the consumer experience with its new upscale Prime store format, inspired by the colors and materials of the Danish countryside. A location in Miami launched in June, with two more U.S. sites slated for 2020 in Westchester, N.Y., and San Francisco.
Key Execs: Michael Krol, Panos Mytaros, Dave Quel
Ezra Dabah, 66
CEO, Nina Footwear Corp.
Nina has expanded outside of its popular special-occasion
category with Daybreaks, a new direct-to-consumer vegan footwear brand. The line, which debuted for spring ’19, is accessibly priced, ranging from $40-$80. Nina’s kids’ and handbag collections continue to excel.
Key Execs: Nina Miner, Flori Silverstein, Dennis O’Keefe
Bob Dennis, 65
Chairman, CEO & President, Genesco Inc.
Genesco continued to remain relevant with young shoppers, despite two executive powers bowing out: Johnston & Murphy’s Jonathan Caplan retired in June; Jim Estepa, in 2018. After solid back-to-school momentum at Journeys, Johnston & Murphy and Schuh, the firm boosted its fiscal year outlook.
Key Exec: Mario Gallione
Jim Fox, 51
Under Fox, the brand extended its core clog category with the LT Pro, a lighter-weight duty style, and increased the number of its waterproof looks. The firm continues to connect with consumers with its “Embrace Your Journey” storytelling platform, recording the experiences of women wearing Dansko through Instagram.
Key Execs: Kitty Bollinger, Sal Agati, Mimi Curry
Bob Goldman, 77
CEO, Chinese Laundry
Driven by collaborations, the company celebrated its latest “attainable luxury” 42 Gold line with an ad campaign featuring 42 influencers, including actress Jamie Chung. Additional collaborations are in the pipeline.
Key Execs: Stewart Goldman, Lauren Goldman
Jöelle Grünberg, 48
President & CEO, Lacoste, North and Central America
Under Grunberg, the Lacoste name continues to find more of a fan following. The storied label debuted a collab featuring late artist Keith Haring’s work, resulting in a range of colorful sneakers and apparel. Lacoste also developed exclusive product for its sponsorship of the French Open tennis tournament.
Key Exec: Dave Grange
Jim Issler, 71
CEO & President, Berkshire Hathaway Shoe Holdings Inc.
The Western category continues to be a focus for Issler. Justin Boots launched a series of exotic Western boots in coordination with the American Quarter Horse Association, and the brand is banking on its George Strait by Justin Boots collection.
Key Execs: Tom McClaskie, Greg Crouchley, David Issler, Victor Sanders
Michael Katz , 68
CEO & President, Matisse Footwear
Matisse saw triple-figure sales growth via e-commerce and its direct-to-customer retail channels. The brand has collaborations in mind for next year, along with the retail launch of a targeted lifestyle brand, Beach by Matisse. The Coconuts Kids line is expanding too.
Key Execs: Sheena Parks, Tom Ferguson
Marcia Kilgore, 51, Founder
Michael Lockett, 50, CEO
Fifteen branded stores launched and eight pop-up locations went live across Asia. The Wonderwelly, the brand’s first rain boot, packed with comfort features, launched. The brand also continues to ramp up its digital strategy.
David Miller, 63, CEO
Scott Sessa, 60, President
The brand exploded on the big screen when its Two Button boot was featured on Brad Pitt in the movie “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” driving solid sales online. The company branched out with a new licensing division, delivering slippers for brands such as Sperry and Hush Puppies.
Key Exec: Jori Miller Sherer
Rick Mina, 62
The executive has propelled the regional retailer into the national limelight, helping it become a rare brick-and-mortar success story. Largely an athletic chain, WSS continues its fast growth in underserved, urban neighborhoods. Its well-honed strategy relies on hundreds of events in local communities and sponsorships with pro sports teams.
Pat Mooney, 50
President, Footwear Unlimited
The company is focused on a wellness message for its Bare Traps brand, which introduced the Posture+ footbed technology. Meanwhile, Mooney’s team is negotiating to acquire brands and continues to invest in direct-to-consumer.
Key Execs: Jodie Johnson, Bill Downey, Andy Smith
Bob Mullaney, 48
CEO, R.G. Barry Corp.
Dearfoams introduced the Fireside and Supply Company collections, with new brand Flat Socks set to launch in over 800 retail doors in December. A national ad campaign, “Together in Dearfoams,” supported growth with 100 million impressions.
Key Execs: Tricia Bouras, Lee Smith
Joe Ouaknine, 67
Chairman, Titan Industries Inc.
In addition to its owned and licensed brands, including Badgley Mischka, Jewel Badgley Mischka and Splendid, the company bolstered its portfolio by introducing Zac Zac Posen and Rampage for spring ’20. Ouaknine will receive the 2019 Bob Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award at Two Ten’s annual gala in December.
Key Exec: Joel Oblonsky
Peter Poopat, 46, and Flavio Girolami, 47, Co-Founders
Common Projects collaborated with Bergdorf Goodman men’s fashion director Bruce Pask on shoes that debuted in February at B., a tiny shop-in-shop. During the summer, the design duo joined the sneaker offering at the new Saks Fifth Avenue men’s shoe floor, which opened in July.
Giorgio Presca, 56
Presca took the helm of the company after Mike Shearwood resigned in 2018 due to allegations of misconduct. The company launched a global multichannel marketing campaign featuring celebrity ambassadors like Freida Pinto and Alexander Skarsgård. Clarks Originals also collaborated with Carhartt WIP, Patta, Wu Wear, Stussy and Supreme.
Key Execs: Tara McRae, Gary Champion
Gregg Ribatt, 51
CEO, The Rockport Co.
After being acquired by Charlesbank Capital Partners last year, its flagship Rockport brand continued to build on comfort technologies and connected with an expanded consumer base by opening 31 Rockport stores internationally. The addition of casual brand Reef has also opened the door to additional consumers and retail distribution.
Key Execs: Javan Bunch, Mike Jensen, Mike Smith
Faryl Robin, 53
Founder & Designer, Faryl Robin
After years of double-digit growth at her namesake company, the entrepreneur wanted to pay it forward. This summer, Robin realized her long-held dream of establishing a day-care location for her factory workers in China. She has also been a strong advocate for women’s empowerment.
Key Exec: Jim Biolos
Tom Romeo, 56
Romeo’s Bearpaw brand debuted PETA-approved vegan versions of its classic boot and slipper this fall and for spring ’20 expanded with vegan sandals made from pineapple. It also upped its technical capabilities with the proprietary HiberTech insulation and 360 wide-width program. The CEO continues to seek growth opportunities for the Flip Flop Shops retail chain.
Key Execs: John Pierce, Angelique Marello, Edna De Pamphilis
Giuseppe Santoni, 50
In a bid to attract more female customers in the U.S., Santoni collaborated with Sofia Sanchez de Betak on a resort ’20 capsule collection; proceeds go toward ocean conservation. The Italian luxury label joined the see-now, buy-now model last September at Milan Fashion Week.
Cliff Sifford, 66
Vice Chairman & CEO, Shoe Carnival
Like many mid-priced retailers, Shoe Carnival faced its share of challenges, with flat profits and lower revenues in the second quarter. Still, Sifford is focused on the future. The company created a new management structure, announcing several promotions in September, including a bump for Sifford, that supports its long-term plan.
Key Execs: Mark Worden, Tim Baker, Kerry Jackson
Jack Silvera, 77
Founder & CEO, Dynasty Footwear
As retailers expand their private-label offerings, the company has leveraged its global sourcing network to support them. BC Footwear’s PETA-certified vegan sandals business grew, mirroring consumer interest. And for spring, Seychelles is launching its first unisex collection, Seychelles for All. Dorothee Silvera was promoted to EVP of women’s product.
Key Execs: Lance Giroux, Sari Ratsula, Gabriel Morales
John Varvatos, 65
Founder & Designer, John Varvatos Enterprises
To mark the final season of HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones,” Varvatos created a special collab line. The music lover also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin with a capsule collection. Meanwhile, he continued his partnership with Nick Jonas and debuted a second retail store in Mexico, this time in Guadalajara.