There’s been a changing of the guard at Reebok.
Todd Krinsky, a 30-year veteran of the sports brand, has been elevated to chief executive officer, and Matt O’Toole, who had been at the helm for the past 15 years, will be joining Authentic Brands Group, Reebok’s new owner, as executive vice chairman in 2023. Until that time, he will work with Krinsky on the transition.
Krinsky has been a member of Reebok’s senior leadership team for more than a decade and served most recently as senior vice president of the Reebok Design Group, overseeing product management and design of the brand’s footwear and apparel. During his long tenure at Reebok, Krinsky has held numerous positions in product development, merchandising and management, sports and entertainment marketing, and business unit and category leadership. Krinsky is also credited with spearheading the growth of Reebok’s Classics business, built around signature pieces such as the Classic Leather, a heritage jogger, and Club C, tennis-inspired court silhouettes. Under his leadership, Reebok’s Classics business has experienced consistent growth worldwide for more than a decade.
In an exclusive interview with WWD, Krinsky said his career at Reebok started when he delivered mail for the company three decades ago and he’s honored to have been elevated to the top post. “When I walked through the doors on my first day as a Reebok intern, I was immediately awestruck by the brand’s dedication to innovation and authenticity. I look forward to working with the entire Reebok team to unleash the full potential of Reebok worldwide.
“I live and breathe the brand,” he continued. “Matt and I worked together for a really long time and I’m happy he’s going to stay within the ABG family to work on Reebok and other things.”
Krinsky said O’Toole “had a great run” at Reebok and after its acquisition, “started to think about what’s next. We’re ushering in a new era at Reebok with ABG so the timing is right.” ABG declined to provide more details about O’Toole’s role at the parent company at this point, saying it wanted the focus to remain on Krinsky.
The newly inked CEO said that although other candidates were considered for the role, he believes his wide range of experience and long tenure at the brand helped him secure the job.
“We’re having a great moment right now,” he said, led by the popularity of Reebok’s Classics and Training collections. “We’re one of the few brands to grow market share in the fourth quarter of last year and the first half of this year,” adding that these two collections grew “exponentially” during that time. Among the most popular items are the Nano, a training shoe, as well as the Club C collection of classic footwear, he said. “Classics are very on trend right now,” he said.
Going forward, Krinsky said the goal for the company as a whole is to “reinterpret sports. We’re going to take a methodical approach and return to our rightful place as a true sport style brand.”
That goal is similar to that of Reebok’s competitors including Nike, Under Armour and Puma, among others. But for Krinsky, he believes Reebok has a niche that sets it apart from these other brands.
“We’ve always taken an irreverent, disruptive approach and leaned into style,” he said. “We show sport in a different way. That’s the spirit that we’re trying to get back to.”
He reiterated the plan that ABG laid out when it finalized the acquisition of Reebok in March for 2.1 billion euros from Adidas, which was to “let Reebok by Reebok.”
As outlined at the time by ABG CEO Jamie Salter, Reebok — which had sales of $3.7 billion in retail revenues at that time and projections to grow to $5 billion next year and $10 billion within five years — would be able to achieve those goals by mining its heritage as a brand at the intersection of sports and style.
“We have a lot of room to grow and that may not have been as overt under our old owner,” Krinsky said.
He said collaborations will be “a big part of our future, but they’ll be fewer and bigger. The market is inundated with collaborations and a lot don’t matter.”
But for Reebok, luxury collaborations — executed through the brand’s partnership with New Guard’s Group, the buzzy Milan-based division of Farfetch Ltd. that is Reebok’s core operator in Europe — will provide the biggest opportunity for future growth, and be sold in more than 50 countries. “It will allow us to scale,” he said.
“Our biggest opportunity is in Europe with NGG,” he said, adding that New Guards is also “having a good run with Classics.” He also said that the “direct deals” that ABG has signed with big retailers around the world, including JD Group and Foot Locker, will provide Reebok with “massive distribution” around the world. “We have three times the amount of space in stores as we did a year ago,” he said.
Krinsky also said the brand plans to be “very relevant in the music space,” but said it will be “the right music artist with the right product.” And he said the brand will be announcing some new partnerships in the near future.
“The consumer will see a lot more Reebok,” he said.
When ABG purchased Reebok this spring, Salter said he was ready to “unleash” the brand’s potential and bring it back to what it was 15 years ago “when it was at the top of its game.” Because it was under the Adidas umbrella since 2006, it was “overshadowed” by its larger parent. But under ABG, it now represents the corporation’s sole premium sports brand.
In addition to Krinsky, ABG also named two new members to the senior leadership team at Reebok under SPARC Group, the operating partner for Reebok in the U.S. that oversees the Boston-based Reebok Design Group, its global brand hub. SPARC, a joint venture between ABG and Simon Property Group, also operates Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, Aéropostale, Lucky Brand and Nautica. Erika Swan has been promoted to senior vice president of global operations and sourcing at RDG and will be responsible for the build-out of Reebok’s global operations team which ensures the delivery of product around the world. And John Moore was recently promoted to senior vice president of the U.S. commercial market. Moore has led Reebok’s store strategy in the U.S., and will now be responsible for expanding the brand’s distribution across the country.
Krinsky will continue to be based at the brand’s Boston headquarters and will report to Marc Miller, CEO of SPARC Group. His former duties will be split among the senior leadership team, including Swan and Moore, ABG said.
“Preserving Reebok’s core values was an important focus as we enhanced the brand’s senior leadership team,” said Miller. “Todd is a product visionary who brings tremendous credibility in the athletic industry, and we are confident that he will usher in the next wave of Reebok’s expansion. We also want to thank Matt for leading the Reebok brand and team, as well as delivering the Unleashed strategy, which has created a strong foundation for future growth.”
Reebok, which traces its history to 1895, is currently sold in 80 countries and operates 400 freestanding stores around the world.