Wolverine’s Soon-To-Be CEO Is Already Seeing Digital Wins as the Company Delivers in Q2

Brendan Hoffman is set to assume the role of CEO at Wolverine World Wide Inc. at the end of the year. But judging by his company’s current performance, his influence is already being felt.

Hoffman joined Wolverine as president last September and will succeed CEO Blake Krueger at the end of 2021. The soon-to-be CEO has been tasked with helping the company meet its e-commerce goal of $500 million in 2021. He will also focus on broader revenue goals as opposed to short term sales.

Wolverine’s portfolio includes brands such as Merrell, Saucony, Sperry, Hush Puppies, and Keds and operates across about 170 countries and territories.

The company reported that it beat estimates in its Q2 earnings on Thursday, raising its outlook for 2021. The company’s owned e-commerce revenue more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to 2019. Merrell and Saucony, the company’s biggest brands, hit record quarterly revenues. E-commerce sale on Saucony.com sales increased more than 20% from 2020.

“From a brand standpoint, all of them will benefit by the investments we’re making on platforming technology, data collection, data mining,” Hoffman said in a Thursday call with investors. “Certainly Saucony right now is top of mind for us with their growth and some of the catch-up there. They’re doing a fantastic job on their e-commerce growth and really prioritizing Saucony.com in both performance and originals.”

Hoffman also highlighted Sperry, specifically the brand’s advantage of “being able to tell their story directly through sperry.com and then have that cascade through through their other partners.”

According to Williams Trading analyst Sam Poser, Wolverine’s latest results show the positive impact Hoffman is already having on the company as he waits in the wings to take over as CEO.

“The fruits of better brand control, targeted digital marketing, and the impact of the Brendan Hoffman, WWW’s President and CEO in waiting are just beginning to be harvested,” Poser said in a note.

He added: “We are very confident that the digitally led, brand first direction from which WWW has begun to reap the benefits, will materially accelerate as the management transition moves along.”

Poser also noted that the explosive success of the Merrell and Saucony brands, which makes up almost half of Wolverine’s revenue, was due to a shift to a longterm focus on each brand and their customers.

Hoffman previously led the turnaround of the Vince contemporary brand as CEO of Vince Holding Corp., where he also grew the company’s e-commerce and digital platforms.

“We are well positioned to take these brands, with their legacy in footwear, and expand our own e-commerce — not at the expense of wholesale,” Hoffman said in a previous interview with FN. “But with a lens of being able to reach directly to the customer and tell the story.”

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