A 54-year-old industry veteran, Gordon Baird, became the new chief executive of Inov-8, the fast-growing brand of trail running shoes, on March 18. He was most recently the CEO of Americana, the British parent of the Bench brand, which is coming under the ownership of another equity fund (more on this in Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe). He previously held top management positions at Timberland Europe and Adidas Northern Europe. He was also managing director Dunlop Slazenger International and led Wolverine Worldwide's Heritage brands – CAT, Sebago and Harley-Davidson – first at the European level and then at the global level.
Baird has taken the place of Robert Perkins, who has been with Inov-8 since 2008, making it grow at an average compound annual rate of 60 percent for the past five years and putting together a professional management team, with a staff of 70 people, 30 agents and 30 distributors around the world. Wayne Edy, who founded the British company in 2003, gave Perkins credit for developing the company's unique culture, brand positioning and product innovation.
He said that Perkins is leaving Inov-8 “in great shape” and with a strong order book for 2014. He said that Baird is the right person to take the business to the next stage of its development and growth.