Sock and Accessory Brands Global has named Tom O’Riordan chief executive officer and chairman. Founder Jeff Arnold will transition from ceo to a member of the board.
SABG was founded in 1999 by Arnold and is based in Mocksville, N.C. It makes socks for the NBA, the MLS and also Eddie Bauer. Other brands include Bear Paw, Mixaroos, Smart Feet and Runner’s Choice. SABG makes and markets hosiery, legwear and accessories under retail customers’ private-label names. SABG employs a four-person trend forecasting team and 10 full-time designers.
“Jeff Arnold is a visionary leader who was instrumental in driving the tremendous growth we have experienced for the past 16 years,” said O’Riordan. “We are well positioned operationally and with our retail customers, and I look forward to maintaining the momentum while expanding our product assortment and service levels to our customers.” O’Riordan joined the company last year. Prior to that, he held senior-level positions at Nike, Adidas, Fila and ASG.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished from an upstart 16 years ago to building a leading private-label hosiery and legwear company for many of the nation’s most successful retailers,” said Arnold. “It’s been a great run, and I’m look forward to staying involved as an investor and board member, but feel the time is right to turn over the reins to Tom and our strong management team to lead the next wave of growth and product expansion for SABG.”
Huron Capital Partners recapitalized the company in November 2011 with $40 million. Arnold and Huron hold significant ownership stakes in the company. Socks have proven to be big winners for private equity. Compass Group invested in K.B. Socks in 2004 and reportedly enjoyed a return of 3.5 times when it exited in December 2010. Blackstone Group purchased Gold Toe socks in 2006 and exited that business when it sold Gold Toe to Gildan for $350 million.