Wolverine World Wide has created a new stand-alone structure, called Wolverine International Group, to oversee the market development, selling activities and local market execution for all its brands outside of North America. The unit will be run by Bill Brown, a 24-year veteran of the company. He will report directly to the group's chairman and chief executive, Blake W. Krueger. Brown had been in charge of international sales for the group before. He most recently led the group's Heritage Brands unit, after serving in numerous other senior brand management positions with the company, including roles with Hush Puppies, Wolverine, Caterpillar Footwear, Harley-Davidson Footwear, Sebago and Merrell.
The management has repeatedly said that there is still a lot of potential for the group to grow outside the U.S. International sales represented 37.3 percent of the total revenues of $1,101 million in 2009, down from 40.2 percent in 2008, mainly because of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar. The establishment of the International Group is expected to strengthen the company's international teams and create a more regionally focused structure. The company intends to implement specific growth strategies for important emerging markets, such as Greater China and India.
In the reshuffle, Onder Ors becomes managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Ors was senior vice president in charge of the international development for the outdoor division. He reports to Brown. Also reporting to Brown will be Baffin Yip, vice president for Greater China; Sanjay Mehra, vice president for India; Sean Carney, vice president ? international for the Heritage Group; Bill Mirecki, vice president ? international for the Lifestyle Group; Linda Brunzell, vice president ? international for the Outdoor Group; and John MacLeod, vice president of finance and special projects ? International Group.
Wolverine is also reorganizing its portfolio into three branded wholesale operating groups: the Outdoor Group, comprising Merrell, Chaco and Patagonia Footwear, led by Jim Zwiers; the Heritage Group, grouping Wolverine, Caterpillar Footwear, Bates, Harley-Davidson Footwear and HyTest, led by Ted Gedra; and the Lifestyle Group, comprised of Hush Puppies, Cushe and Sebago, led by Mark Neal.
Before, the company was organized into four operating groups. There has been no change in the scope of the Outdoor Group, which represented 37.8 percent of sales in 2009. The three others were previously: the Wolverine Footwear Group (21.1 percent of sales with Bates, HyTest, Wolverine), the Heritage Brands Group (18.0 percent of sales with Cat, Harley-Davidson, Sebago); and the Hush Puppies Company (12.0 percent of sales with Hush Puppies, Soft Style, Cushe).