Business news : Mizuno USA Restructures to Accelerate Growth

Mizuno USA announced a number of organizational changes to better create a more effective, efficient operational structure. The organizational changes will streamline divisional operations with the combination of Diamond Sports/Volleyball and Golf divisions under the leadership of Dick Lyons, VP/GM of Mizuno USA Golf Division.

In his new role, Lyons will be tasked to drive brand strength, sales, profitability and market share for both divisions. Connected to this transition, Chuck Couch, currently director of product management, Golf, has been promoted to VP of product Management for the Golf Division. Couch will oversee Golf product, planning and development and promotional activities in support of strategic objectives. The Running division will remain under the direction of industry veteran and current VP/GM, Fritz Taylor.

In order to improve service levels, cost structure and sustain the brand's longstanding quality reputation, a new VP of Sourcing position has also been defined in the new organization. Dick Grapenthin, former VP/GM of Diamond Sports/Volleyball, will shift his expertise to focus solely on this function across all Mizuno USA divisions and product lines. 

The overall actions are designed to drive company-wide accelerated growth over the next few years.

"The evolution and diversity of the retail landscape driven by many factors, including new technology and changing consumer behavior, has made these moves essential," said Bob Puccini, President Mizuno USA, Inc., Chairman, Mizuno Canada, Ltd., and Director of Mizuno Corporation. "Our ultimate goal is to accelerate development of a stronger consumer franchise by building on the existing strength of our brand.  This should not only grow our business, but also our customers' businesses.  The new structure will give us greater synergy, focus and flexibility as a brand and company.  It also ensures our partners receive the strategic and executional attention they deserve."

"The evaluated and proven experience Dick Lyons, Dick Grapenthin and Chuck Couch bring to the business is reflected in our past results.  The impact in their new roles will be critical to our future success," added Puccini. "Changing consumer behavior and the evolution of trade channels has driven the shift in roles.  We now have realigned resources to better enable us to improve our margins to invest the savings in our brand and ultimately drive growth."

To further accelerate and leverage the strong growth in the Americas markets, the Mizuno Portland Design Center will be reinforced and expanded to assume global performance running footwear responsibility. As a result, Rod Foley will be promoted to Global Director, Product Management, Performance Running Footwear tasked to drive innovation and product design for the brand in not only the Americas markets, but also on a global scale.

"Running is a market that we continue to see new consumers joining all around the world, and remains a priority growth area for Mizuno Corporation," said Puccini. "Rod has been a key contributor to our success in the U.S. and I am pleased to see him play a bigger, global role."

The design center will continue to evolve as the global center of excellence for performance running footwear working closely with global counterparts and be comprised of a global team. Foley, along with additional designers and developers from Mizuno Corporation in Japan, will be relocated to Portland, Ore. to reinforce the initiative and join the existing design staff.

Another element of these changes is the consolidation of the sales functions for the company's three divisions, running, team sports and golf, under one leadership. The new sales organization will enable improved and focused service and resources to all trade partners. The transition will be effective upon the hiring of the new Corporate VP of Sales. An executive search has begun to find the strongest possible candidate to build and lead the new multi-division function.

"All of these changes have one purpose - to accelerate our growth," said Puccini. "We expect to achieve success by offering engaging brand experiences to our consumers, working strategically with various channel partners and improving our margin structure. This new structure places us in a better position to adapt to the ever evolving marketplace and help ensure we continue to deliver sustainable and superior financial results."

Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes baseball, golf, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America.  Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, GA.

By press rleease through SportsOneSource

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