Wolverine Worldwide announces pair of executive moves

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Wolverine Worldwide promoted a company and industry veteran to oversee its global operations and announced an omnichannel retail veteran will lead the company’s digital-first and e-commerce growth goals.

The Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel said last week that it appointed Jim Zwiers as president, global operations group, to lead the company’s portfolio-wide sourcing, logistics, distribution, customer service and information technology functions. Additionally, Matt Blonder was named its new president, global e-commerce.

Jim Zwiers

Jim Zwiers Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Zwiers will concurrently serve as president, international group, a position he has held since 2014, and will remain executive vice president of the company and a member of the company’s executive leadership team.

He has been with Wolverine Worldwide for almost 23 years, serving in many significant operational roles, including president of the performance group and president of the outdoor group, along with leadership of the company’s global e-commerce and retail businesses. Zwiers also has held senior operational roles, including senior vice president with responsibility for strategy, business development and legal.

“Jim is uniquely and ideally suited to lead the global operations group, and I could not be more pleased with this expansion of his role,” said Blake Krueger, chair and CEO of Wolverine Worldwide. “His extensive experience with the company’s brands and international operations, coupled with his digital background and successful implementation of speed-to-market initiatives, will help accelerate the company’s digital-first transformation and global e-commerce growth.”

Mike Jeppesen Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Zwiers succeeds Mike Jeppesen as president, global operations group. Jeppesen is retiring after more than 33 years in the footwear industry, the last nine of which have been with Wolverine. Jeppesen will remain in an advisory role through midyear to assist with the transition.

“We are grateful to Mike for his many years of dedicated service to both the company and our industry,” said Krueger. “He has been a key adviser to me and a trusted executive leadership team member for many years, and we certainly wish him and his family well as he transitions into a well-deserved retirement.”

Jeppesen said he has been “fortunate at Wolverine Worldwide to work with the best team in the industry” and wishes them all the best.

“Jim is a seasoned leader who knows our industry inside and out, and he is well-positioned to lead the global operations group into the future as the company accelerates its ongoing digital transformation,” he said.

Prior to his career at Wolverine, Zwiers was an attorney at Warner Norcross & Judd for three years and an auditor at BDO for three years.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from Calvin University and a Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of Michigan.

Matt Blonder

Matt Blonder Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Blonder brings to Wolverine Worldwide more than 20 years of omnichannel, consumer-direct, digital marketing and merchandising experience across a variety of top brands and retailers. Most recently, he was global head of digital at Reebok, a division of Adidas, where he transformed the brand’s digital strategy, led a complete refresh of Reebok.com, revamped the digital consumer experience and introduced a new global loyalty program.

Blonder will report to Brendan Hoffman, Wolverine Worldwide’s president.

“Wolverine Worldwide witnessed a dramatic change in consumer behavior last year, highlighted by a significant shift to e-commerce and heightened digital engagement,” Hoffman said. “We capitalized on this by accelerating our pivot to a digital-first strategy and expanding our digital investments and capabilities, all aimed at engaging consumers online with pinnacle brand experiences, fresh and innovative product and compelling storytelling. The company has set a bold goal to achieve $500 million in global e-commerce revenue for 2021. Matt’s proven track record makes him the ideal person to lead this ongoing digital transformation.”

Blonder said he is “excited to join Wolverine Worldwide during a period of unprecedented digital growth for the company and the industry overall.”

“The company’s diverse and well-positioned brand portfolio provides many opportunities to accelerate growth in the current environment, as we embrace a consumer-direct mindset and forge even stronger connections between global consumers and our brands,” he said.

Prior to his time at Reebok, Blonder held digital and e-commerce roles at Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us and a variety of other retailers.

Blonder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, business and anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

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