NEW YORK — After 21 years at the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, Maria Stefan is moving on and will become Ellesse USA’s president.
She will leave her post as executive director and vice president of global business development of the SGMA Monday and plans to start Oct. 1 at Ellesse, a tennis and skiwear label owned by Pentland Brands plc. Her replacement has yet to be named.
Stefan will be based at Ellesse’s office at 141 West 36th Street here, and she will report to Andrew Leslie, president of Ellesse International, who previously oversaw the U.S. business. Initially, she will divide her time between New York and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where she lives.
“I had a great job, but I was looking for a new career step. This is a fantastic opportunity to help rebuild and relaunch a brand in the world’s largest market,” Stefan said.
Andy Rubin, chief executive officer of Pentland said, “We believe Maria’s experience, industry relationships and marketing savvy will create a new direction and future for Ellesse in the U.S.”
Having served with Stefan on the SGMA’s board of directors, George Horowitz, president and ceo of Everlast Worldwide, praised Stefan for pressing companies to develop more stylish women’s activewear, apparel for senior citizens and attracting apparel and textile firms to The Super Show, the industry’s annual trade show.
Stefan will continue to serve as chairman of the committee on development of the world federation of the Sporting Goods Industry; on the board of trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation; board member of Gifts In Kind International; on the national advisory committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active for Life program; member of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control Collaborating Committee on Physical Activity; and co-chair of the global sports philanthropy initiative, Sporting Goods To Go.