Wolverine Worldwide appoints new president

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Brendan Hoffman Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide named an omnichannel retail veteran as its next president, taking over part of the role held by current CEO Blake Krueger on the path to an eventual CEO transition.

The Rockford-based maker of apparel and footwear said Tuesday that it appointed Brendan Hoffman as its next president and as a member of its board of directors, both effective on his expected start date of Sept. 8.

Hoffman will report to Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s current chair, CEO and president. He is expected to transition over a period to become the future CEO of the company.

Blake Krueger Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Hoffman brings 30 years of merchandising, digital marketing and omnichannel consumer-direct experience from a variety of well-known brands and retailers.

Most recently, he was CEO of Vince Holding Corp., a publicly traded global contemporary fashion brand. While at Vince, Hoffman significantly increased the growth and penetration of the e-commerce and digital platforms, adapted Vince’s vertical supply chain to embrace “buy now/wear now” trends and extended the brand into bold new consumer categories.

Prior to joining Vince in 2015, Hoffman was president and CEO of Bon-Ton Stores Inc. and president and CEO of Lord & Taylor LLC. Earlier in his career, he was president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Direct, helping to grow neimanmarcus.com and launching bergdorfgoodman.com, horchow.com and other branded websites that transformed Neiman Marcus and its affiliated companies into one of the first multichannel retailers with a $500 million e-commerce business.

“Brendan is a very strong addition to the Wolverine Worldwide senior management team, and his proven leadership and track record makes him the ideal person to become our next president and eventually lead Wolverine Worldwide into the next chapter of its journey,” said Krueger, who has served as Wolverine’s president and CEO since 2007.

Tuesday’s announcement is the result of a multiyear succession and search process.

“I believe we currently have the strongest and deepest leadership team in the industry, and Brendan brings a valuable set of skills and experiences that will help our brands capitalize on the many opportunities that lie ahead,” Krueger said. “He brings a passion and strategic vision for consumer direct and omnichannel retail that is well-suited for the digital pivot and accelerated changes in consumer behavior that are now taking place in the global marketplace.”

In his role as president, Hoffman will focus on driving growth across the company’s portfolio of lifestyle brands. The key leaders responsible for Wolverine Worldwide’s brands, digital execution, advanced concepts and innovation, consumer insights and merchandising will report to Hoffman, including Jim Zwiers, Chris Hufnagel, Joelle Grunberg, Tom Kennedy and Angelo Ng.

“I’m pleased and honored to have been selected as Wolverine’s next president,” Hoffman said. “I look forward to working with the company’s incredible team to build on the current momentum in the business and accelerate the growth of its brands in the new global environment. As a team, we will embrace a consumer-direct mindset while we forge even stronger connections between global consumers and our brands.

“I have worked my whole career for an opportunity like this one, and I am looking forward to partnering with Blake and the Wolverine team to help drive the business forward.”

Hoffman holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He serves on the board of advisors of the Jay Baker Retail Center at Wharton and has served on many other civic, charitable and business organizations over the years.

He and his family will be relocating to the Grand Rapids area.

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