BACK TO BOSTON: Having done some significant layoffs in recent months in advance of its planned move to new corporate headquarters in October, Reebok International has tapped Chris Froio as general manager of Reebok America.
With 25 years of experience with the company both in the U.S. and abroad, Froio is now overseeing the brand’s efforts to build sales in the increasingly competitive U.S. market. Most recently he served as Reebok’s brand director in Western Europe, which became the brand’s fastest-growing market and nearly doubled sales, according to Reebok president Matt O’Toole. He was based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, but his successor has not yet been named, a Reebok spokesman said Tuesday.
Froio, whose former roles at the company included head of Reebok’s Training business unit, is now heading up Reebok’s U.S. retail and wholesale organizations. He reports to O’Toole.
As an indication of its commitment to the domestic business, the company combined its global and U.S. teams into one in order to maximize the full resources of the brand to work on bolstering the U.S. business. In addition to well-established competitors like Nike, Under Armour, Puma, New Balance and Asics, Reebok has a slew of other labels trying to chip away at its sales including Lululemon, H&M, Old Navy and more specialized ones like Kate Hudson’s Fabletics.
Reebok, which was acquired by Adidas-Salomon AG for about $3.8 billion in 2005, remains committed to its athletic roots as evidenced by such deals as its UFC partnership. But the company is also expanding into other areas. In an interview with WWD earlier this year, O’Toole referenced the brand’s deals with Future, Kendrick Lamar and Gigi Hadid, adding “You’ll definitely see this movement into the broader world of pop culture and lifestyle as well.”
O’Toole said, “Chris’ leadership qualities, combined with his deep understanding of the Reebok brand, our consumer and the U.S. retail landscape, make him uniquely qualified for this critical position.” For his part, Froio said, “What is most exciting is the brand’s 100 percent commitment to winning in the U.S.”
In October, Reebok plans to relocate to new headquarters in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. The brand will be moving 650 to 700 employees — about 300 fewer than its current team — to a 220,000-square-foot space in the Innovation & Design Building. Some of the laid-off workers, who have shared responsibilities with Reebok and Adidas, were offered posts in other Adidas offices. Others had their jobs eliminated.
Froio said, “Coming back to the U.S., Reebok’s home market, is exciting. I’m looking forward to bringing my past experiences, as well as a number of learnings from my time in Western Europe, to this new opportunity.”
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