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Asics Names a New North American President — and Makes Several Other Leadership Moves

The leadership of Asics North America will look quite different come Nov. 1.

The running market standout revealed several leadership changes today, most notably the appointment of Richard Sullivan to president and COO of Asics North America. Sullivan’s last role with the company was EVP of North America. A 25-year industry veteran, he started with Asics in 2016 as the president of its Canada business.

“We have so much confidence in Richard’s ability to lead North America during this pivotal time for the region,” current Asics North America CEO Koichiro Kodama said in a statement. “He steps into this role at a time where the brand is seeing strong momentum even amongst a challenging business climate.  We know Richard can take this brand even further as he is a proven industry leader with an acute understanding of our brand, accounts, consumers and overall business in North America.”

With the move, Kodama will assume a new global position: managing executive officer. The position will have him based at the company’s headquarters in Kobe, Japan. Kodama will be tasked with leading several divisions of Asics’ business such as geography strategy, retail, global subsidiaries Asics Trading and Haglofs.

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Other moves announced today include the appointment of Barbara Turner, the company’s most recent VP of HR, to the North American chief administrative officer role. Also, Sean Condon has been named VP of omnichannel, also for North America. Currently, Condon is the senior director overseeing digital, e-commerce and retail

These changes also go into effect Nov. 1.

Lastly, Naomichi Hatori will become the EVP of strategy for its North American business, effective January 2021. Hatori, the current GM of geography strategy division at Asics in Kobe, will be responsible for setting and implementing global strategy across the region.

On Thursday, Asics VP of categories Ian Dickinson joined FN’s “Making the Most of the Running Boom” virtual panel and discussed several topics including how COVID-19 has shifted how people shop.

We did see an increase in returning visitors and purchases on our own Asics.com site. I think [another] notable change was members utilizing our OneAsics loyalty program. But the biggest change we saw was conversion rates going through the roof. People came on knowing what they wanted to buy and browsing turned to purchase. The biggest differentiator is people were probably going out less but they were going out to a physical store with purpose and looking for a certain level of service. I think that’s where you see the resilience of channels specific to run specialty. They’re deeply connected with their communities. And it’s pretty amazing to watch retailers bring creative, cutting edge approaches to virtual fittings, product pickups, drop off delivery to loyal customer,” Dickinson said. 

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