Wolverine Worldwide announced several senior leadership changes on Wednesday as the footwear company looks to accelerate its global brand-building efforts.
Among the major changes includes the promotion of Chris Hufnagel to president. According to the Rockford, Mich.-based company, Hufnagel will now be responsible for leading and driving strategy across the company’s portfolio of footwear brands, along with leading its consumer marketing and insights teams. He will continue to report to Wolverine’s CEO Brendan Hoffman.
More from Footwear News
“Our strategy for long-term growth includes building stronger brands that resonate more meaningfully with our consumers around the globe,” Hoffman said in a statement. “Chris’ diverse and broad experience as the leader of our largest global brands make him the best choice to lead the implementation of this strategy across our entire footwear brand portfolio as president and take a broader leadership role at the company.”
A 14-year veteran of the company, Hufnagel most recently served as president of the company’s Active Group, with responsibility for Merrell, Saucony, Chaco, Kids Group and global licensing. He has held this position since November when Hoffman first announced the company’s new brand group structure.
During his time at Wolverine, Hufnagel has also served as global president of Merrell, global president of Cat Footwear, and corporate SVP and head of strategy. Prior to joining the company, Hufnagel held senior leadership roles at Under Armour, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
In a statement regarding his promotion, Hufnagel said he is “thrilled” to become the company’s next president. “I look forward to working with our incredible team across our amazing portfolio of brands to drive sustainable growth for the company – leading with product innovation and building even stronger connections with our consumers around the world,” Hufnagel said.
Along with Hufnagel’s promotion, Wolverine has also promoted Janice Tennant to serve as global brand president of Merrell and Rob Griffiths to global brand president of Saucony. Tennant and Griffiths will both report to Hufnagel.
Tennant has served as chief marketing officer of Merrell since 2020, after joining the company as chief marketing officer of Cat Footwear in 2018. She has received a number of industry awards, including most recently being named to Forbes Magazine’s “2023 Entrepreneurial CMO’s 50” list. Before joining the company, Tennant held a series of senior marketing and other roles with Kimberly-Clark and PepsiCo.
As for Griffiths, he has served as managing director of the company’s EMEA region since 2021, responsible for leading the company’s commercial operations in the area. In earlier roles, he served as VP/GM of Merrell in EMEA and VP/GM of lifestyle brands in EMEA. Prior to joining Wolverine Worldwide in 2013, Griffiths spent 15 years with global brands Esprit and Umbro. He replaces Anne Cavassa, who left the company last week.
“Merrell and Saucony are two of the brands we believe have the largest global growth potential within the portfolio, and we intend to focus our efforts and investments on these key brands,” added Hoffman. “I’m extremely excited to promote Janice and Rob, and I am confident these strong, experienced leaders will help drive our global strategy and position Wolverine Worldwide for long-term success.”
Best of Footwear News