Rob DeMartini

There’s a changing of the guard in the offing at New Balance.

The Boston-based activewear brand said Tuesday that longtime president and chief executive officer Rob DeMartini will step down on Dec. 31 and be succeeded by company veteran Joe Preston, who currently serves as chief commercial officer.

“On behalf of the Davis family and our 8,200 associates worldwide, we would like to thank Rob for his strong leadership in driving our aggressive growth during the last 12 years and his unwavering commitment to reflecting and maintaining our unique company culture,” said New Balance owners Jim and Anna Davis.

Over the course of his career, DeMartini helped New Balance grow from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $4.2 billion in 2018. During that time, the company grew in its core specialty running space, expanded international sales to 65 percent from 30 percent and made significant strides in its apparel, retail and e-commerce businesses.

The company also had one of the highest growth rates in the industry in recent years, averaging an 11 percent compounded annual growth rate.

“New Balance is a very special company, built on the values of teamwork, integrity and total customer satisfaction established by Jim and Anna Davis,” DeMartini said. “It has truly been a privilege to add to the foundation our ownership established and I will forever be grateful for the warm welcome I was afforded by the Davis Family, our associates and industry partners when I was a newcomer to the world of footwear and apparel.”

Preston joined New Balance in 1995 as senior product manager for running and custom products.  He was named vice president of international, Asia/Pacific in 2002, and vice president, international in 2005, and executive vice president, international in 2008.  He was later tapped to lead the brand’s global product, R&D and sports marketing initiatives.

“Over the past 23 years, Joe has demonstrated strong leadership skills, commitment to the business and the customers we serve, and a strong passion for building a culture that recognizes and rewards the value and contributions of each of our associates,” said the Davises.

“I’m honored and humbled to take on this role and want to thank Rob for his leadership over the past 12 years,” said Preston. “We have an incredible team of associates and partners around the globe and together we will drive even greater speed, agility and innovation in this modern age of retail and continue to build this iconic brand while strengthening our purpose-driven culture.”

DeMartini joined New Balance in May 2007 from Tyson Foods.

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