The Gene McCarthy era at Asics has come to an end.
At the same time that it released challenged fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, the Japanese company said that McCarthy, the president and chief executive officer of Asics North America, was being replaced by Koichiro Kodama.
“Gene made countless contributions to Asics America as he navigated the brand through an incredibly turbulent time for our industry and implemented numerous changes that set the region on course for success,” said Alistair Cameron, executive officer of Asics Corp., and senior general manager of the geography strategy division. “We thank him for his energy, spirit and being a true champion of the brand during his time with the Asics.”
McCarthy, a veteran of Nike and Under Armour, joined Asics in 2015. Kodama, who has 30 years of experience in the industry working in the U.S., London and Japan, joined Asics in 2016. He was most recently executive vice president of sales for the North American region.
At the same time, Asics named Richard Sullivan executive vice president of sales, categories and marketing; Craig Gillan, vice president of operations, and Paul Ljucovic, vice president of finance.
For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, Asics said Wednesday that operating income plummeted 46.3 percent to 10.5 billion yen, of $94.6 million on a 3.4 percent drop in sales to 387 billion yen, or $3.5 billion. The company said sales in the American region dropped 15 percent due in large part to weakness in the U.S. market and the division posted a loss of 4 billion yen over the prior fiscal year as a result of the drop in sales.
As it begins to focus more on the performance running category, the company is expecting business to improve in the region. It is projecting sales to rise 9 percent in the region by the end of this fiscal year.
Asics, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, had been pushing more toward a Millennial lifestyle customer but is now making an about-face to focus on its roots in running.
The company is projecting an overall gain in performance running of 1.5 percent by the end of this year, as well as a 2 percent gain in apparel and equipment volume. The Onitsuka Tiger brand is also seen as leading the growth within Asics by increasing 12.4 percent by the end of the fiscal year.