J. Michael Prince has been named chief executive officer of USPA Global Licensing Inc., the official licensing arm and national broadcaster of the U.S. Polo Association. He succeeds W. David Cummings, president and ceo, who moves up to chairman of the board, effective immediately.
USPAGL manages the U.S. Polo Assn. brand, the $1.5 billion global sport-inspired apparel label.
“I am honored and humbled by this amazing opportunity to work with a brand and sport that have unlimited potential,” said Prince, who joined USPAGL in May 2017 as chief operating officer. He was brought in as part of a long-term succession plan for Cummings, who has served as president and ceo since 2004.
As chairman, Cummings will continue to work with the USPAGL and USPA on strategic opportunities and collaborative measures intended to bring broader awareness to the sport and drive consumer desire for USPA official licensed product.
Prior to joining USPAGL, Prince was president and chief operating officer and a board member of Cole Haan. He also has served as chief operating officer of Guess; chief financial officer of Nike Affiliates, and earlier, cfo of Converse, a Nike subsidiary.
Prince believes that the U.S. Polo Assn. brand’s authenticity to the sport of polo creates an unusual opportunity in the global marketplace that appeals to today’s consumers, especially the younger Millennial and Gen Z generations. “The authenticity of U.S. Polo Assn. sets it apart from all of its competitors as the only officially sanctioned brand for the sport of polo in the U.S.,” he said.
For the past year, Prince, Cummings and the USPAGL senior leadership team have been working with their global partners to provide the foundation for a long-term strategic plan referred to as “Whitespace 2025.” This plan envisions the brand surpassing $2.5 billion in global retail sales and expanding to over 1,300 monobrand retail stores nationwide.
The company also looks to transition into a digital and media content-driven brand. This transition is part of an overall strategic move to more fully engage global consumers and sports fans through the brand’s “Live Authentically” platform. The brand’s connection to the sport and lifestyle of polo will be reinforced through social media, digital, broadcast, public relations and high-profile polo events.
The plan also calls for expansion in key international markets such as China, India and Turkey, where the brand already has a significant presence. It also looks to gain market share domestically in the U.S. and more mature markets such as Europe and Latin America. In addition, the plan’s objective is to expand the brand’s product offering to include more active, technical and functional options, as well as a larger assortment for women and kids, that will drive greater consumer engagement.
U.S. Polo Assn. sells its products through 1,000 monobranded stores, independent retail, department stores and e-commerce. The brand offers apparel for men, women and children, as well as accessories, footwear, travel and home goods and is sold in about 150 countries.