NEW YORK A new president at Reebok will focus on sports licenses to drive the brand's image in the North American market.
The athletic firm said today that it has appointed Mike O'Toole, formerly the president and CEO of its subsidiary Reebok-CCM Hockey, as president of North American operations for the Reebok brand. O'Toole replaces Bob Munroe, who left the company in August.
According to a company statement, the move comes as Reebok, Canton, Mass., experiences positive momentum in international markets—particularly India, China and Russia, which the company sees as significant growth areas—and now wishes to turn its attentions to regaining position in the North American market.
"We are committed to fulfilling our growth potential in the very critical U.S. market," said Reebok CEO Paul Harrington. "[O'Toole's] record of success in North America will enable us to achieve our goals throughout the region."
From his prior post at Reebok-CCM Hockey, O'Toole brokered a deep partnership with the National Hockey League to promote the brand, more than doubling sales, tripling profits and grabbing 35 percent of the market share since he joined in early 2001, per the company. It will be exactly those skills that Reebok will look for him to leverage as he approaches licenses with the NHL, National Football League and Major League Baseball, which the company believes will help it regain momentum.
"He'll be able to build those relationships with the leagues," said Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource, Charlotte, N.C., despite the fact that O'Toole is not well known by the leagues outside of the NHL and isn't "a shoe guy." "There's going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but they're counting on him to drive their [branding] measures," Powell said. "Reebok realizes how important those properties are in helping to revitalize the brand."
Powell noted that Reebok carries the primary licenses for both the NHL and NFL, though they lag behind VF Corp.-owned Majestic in control of MLB licenses.