By  on March 11, 2008

ATLANTA — Doug Kelly has left Russell Corp., a mere 17 months after he joined the company as president of Russell Athletic. His ouster on Friday prompted Fruit of the Loom, Russell’s parent, to realign the senior management structure at the company. Russell will not name a new president.

Gary Barfield was named executive vice-president, assuming senior management responsibility for the Russell Athletic and Spalding brands. Barfield, who was tapped to lead the organization, was vice-president of team sports for Russell Athletic and Spalding before his promotion. He reports to John Holland, president and CEO of Fruit of the Loom and Russell.

Matt Murphy was named senior vice-president, assuming responsibility for the Russell Athletic and Spalding team and licensed groups. Previously, he was vice-president over the licensing groups. Geordie Shaw was named senior vice-president, assuming responsibilities for the Russell Athletic and Spalding retail groups. Previously, he was vice-president of sales of Russell Athletic and Spalding. Murphy and Shaw both report to Barfield.

“These changes place seasoned leaders in strategic roles,” said Holland in a statement, “and will strengthen our ability to expand distribution of Russell’s authentic and athletically-inspired products and build upon the growing strength and market position of the Russell and Spalding brands.”

Kelly joined Russell Athletic in October 2006, not long after Berkshire-Hathaway, which owns Fruit of the Loom, acquired Russell Corporation for about $600 million. He was an effective leader who orchestrated Russell Athletic’s partnership with the Arena Football League, strategically emphasized a greater concentration on youth product, solidified the brand’s partnership with ESPN and launched a new marketing campaign.

He also helped the brand renew a relationship with NFL Properties, specifically with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins.

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