Boston sneaker giant New Balance tapped former Gillette executive, Robert T. DeMartini, today to serve as the company's new chief executive.
DeMartini has more than 22 years of experience in the consumer products industry, including serving as senior vice president and general manager at Gillette, running the North American blades and razors and personal care operations. Most recently, he worked at Tyson Foods Inc., overseeing the company's $6 billion consumer products division.
“After thirty-five years of managing the company, we feel that it is time to introduce younger and more progressive management," Jim Davis, who served as chief executive since buying the company in 1972, said in a statement. “Rob brings broad experience, professional qualifications and most importantly, a clear understanding of New Balance’s unique culture. We are confident that he will direct the company in attaining our aggressive business goals while maintaining our corporate value system.”
When Davis, 63, purchased New Balance in 1972, it was a six-person workforce making 30 pairs of running shoes a day. Today, New Balance is a $1.55 billion global company with more than 2,800 employees worldwide. But in recent years, the private company's worldwide sales have hovered around $1.5 billion and US sales actually dipped in 2006.
"I'm excited to join New Balance and contribute to the company's very successful business," DeMartini said in a statement. "I plan to continue the established focus on domestic manufacturing, deep commitment to serious runners and strong appetite to grow the apparel business and other footwear brands. I also expect to continue the company's active participation in the communities where it operates."
A native Californian and graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance, DeMartini and his family reside in Swampscott, MA.
(By Jenn Abelson, Globe staff)