Saucony has tapped an industry veteran to fill its chief marketing officer role.
The Wolverine World Wide Inc.-owned performance running and lifestyle brand has hired Kathryn Pratt to the position, effective immediately. According to Saucony, Pratt will report to global brand president Anne Cavassa and will also join the brand’s senior leadership team.
Speaking with FN, Pratt said there were three things in particular that led her to join Saucony: the red-hot running category, the brand’s leadership and its purpose.
“From a category standpoint, there’s been so much momentum in the running space these past two years. There’s a lot of heat in this category from established brands, from new players. Saucony’s performance has been incredible and the competition is fierce. It’s a battle for awareness and brand energy and disruption, and that’s incredibly exciting to me,” Pratt told FN. “From a leadership standpoint, the opportunity to work with Anne Cavassa — who is such a strong, passionate and brilliant leader — is one that I’m so thrilled and honored about. The other piece of the leadership is being part of the Wolverine family. It gives me access to learn from some incredible leaders and thought partners from other brands — Merrell, Sperry, Keds.”
She continued, “From a purpose standpoint, running is transformative and powerful, and it’s not an overstatement to say it can change people’s lives. By expanding access to running, whether that’s through product or community, is something I really believe in.”
In this role, Saucony said Pratt will be tasked with providing strategic development and execution of its global branding initiatives. This includes brand positioning, direct-to-consumer, advertising, digital strategies, international growth initiatives and expansion of the Originals heritage lifestyle business.
“My goal is to take the passion, the competitive drive of the team, the heritage, the innovation and the trust of the Saucony brand, and push the brand to places that are going to strengthen brand awareness and invite more people into the running culture,” Pratt said. “Ultimately, it will create a more diverse, more inclusive brand for our employees, for our athletes and for the running consumer. I’m excited about that challenge ahead.”
She continued, “Over the coming years, we will be incredibly active as a brand in the space of DEI. We are a partner with the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, and we intend to be doing more with them in the future. Those important areas like DEI, sustainability, building a tighter connection with women, there’s so much opportunity for brands to progress, there’s still a lot of work there to be done, and a brand like Saucony can play a leadership role.”
Prior to joining Saucony, Pratt spent more than 11 years at L.L.Bean, most recently serving as its director of brand engagement and outdoor discovery programs. Before L.L.Bean, Pratt held leadership positions at Kenneth Cole Productions and Young & Rubicam.
Saucony slightly exceeded Wolverine’s expectations when the company revealed its Q1 2022 earnings in May, with revenue of roughly $106 million and growth of 4%. During the earnings call, Wolverine World Wide Inc. CEO, president and director Brendan Hoffman said Saucony entered the quarter with a good inventory position in carryover styles, but new product launches were delayed as expected because of supply chain challenges. Hoffman also said the company expects double-digit revenue growth in Q2 for Saucony, with a full-year outlook of high-teens growth.