Jim Howard has been appointed as U.S. general manager for Inov-8, the British brand of trail running footwear. He is to supervise U.S. sales, marketing and operations from the brand's regional head office near Boston. Howard started off in the sports business as the manager of The Runners Den, a prominent running specialty store, and went on to take on various executive functions at Nike, Adidas, Salomon and Puma, among others. The appointment comes after Descente, the Japanese performance apparel brand, acquired a majority stake in Inov-8 last summer. The brand was launched in the U.S. market in 2004 with a focus on mountain running, but the company apparently wants to broaden Inov-8's appeal in the U.S. market to turn it into a leading all-terrain footwear brand. Howard is a two-time qualifier for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. Howard replaces Lee Cox, former vice president of sales and marketing, who became director of global marketing at Hoka One One in January. Another change was the arrival of Greg Bagdis to replace Mike Hippert as finance director.