Reebok Ups CMO to CEO

NEW YORK Reebok has elevated CMO Uli Becker to president and CEO, replacing Paul Harrington, who resigned in April after a 12-year stint with the company.

Becker joined Reebok, Canton, Mass., in May 2006, following his duties as the head of global brand marketing for adidas (Reebok’s parent company) and managing director of adidas International in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. When he joined Reebok, Becker announced his intent to streamline the brand’s marketing operations and to unify brand messaging, as the athletic brand sought to turn its business around and reposition itself in the marketplace.

“[Paul Harrington] played an instrumental role in managing the integration of Reebok into our group and laid the foundations for the repositioning of the Reebok brand worldwide,” said Herbert Hainer, chairman and CEO of adidas, in a statement. “Uli Becker’s proven leadership and global marketing expertise make him uniquely qualified to take the revitalization of the Reebok brand to the next level, both internationally and in the U.S.”

Reebok’s marketing for 2008 will be focused on women’s running and “American major league sports,” underscored in the brand’s forthcoming “Your move” campaign, said Hainer. The campaign, previewed last year, aims to cast Reebok as the brand for individuals rather than hard-core athletes and is part of a larger effort for Reebok to capture the sport lifestyle market.

Details regarding a CMO replacement were not immediately available.

McGarryBowen, New York, is the lead ad agency for Reebok. The company’s latest ad campaign launched two weeks ago in conjunction with the release of its first Freestyle World Tour collection. The product line will include five new sneaker and apparel editions, which will roll out during the course of this year. Other editions that derive their name and design inspiration from cities like Paris, London and New York will follow the Freestyle Tokyo, which launched Feb. 21.

Reebok also released a collection of shoes featuring Kool-Aid-scented sock liners on Feb. 1, and will continue its partnership with the Independent Film Channel for its “Framed” series, which features entertainment celebrities interviewing each other about their passions.