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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Converse Blog: Welcome to Converse John Hoke and Chris Manley

BEAVERTON, Ore. (28 January, 2008) — Nike (NYSE:NKE) announced today that John Hoke, Vice President of Global Footwear Design for the Nike brand, is moving into the newly created role of Vice President, Global Footwear, for Converse, responsible for the brand’s global footwear product management, design, development and innovation.

“A strength of the Nike portfolio is our ability to develop and share creative talent, driving strong product innovation in each of our brands,” said Sandy Bodecker, Vice President of Global Design for Nike. “As Converse continues to grow, the brand will benefit from the leadership of an experienced Nike product design and development leader who has played a significant role in the success of the Nike brand. John has been instrumental in driving industry best practices in footwear design at Nike and building a talented, diverse design organization.”

With Nike since 1992, Hoke was promoted to Global Creative Director of Footwear Design in 2002, and to Vice President in 2003. Before joining the global footwear team, John’s primary role was with Nike Brand Design, where he led the design and creative direction for key successes such as the openings of Niketown New York and Niketown London, Nike Park events at the 1998 World Cup in France, and Nike’s presence at global trade shows. An influential member of the broader design community, Hoke is a member of the Board of Directors at Herman Miller and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. His work has been highlighted in numerous design periodicals.

As Converse celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2008, the iconic global brand is generating exceptional growth. In fiscal 2007, revenues increased 23 percent and pretax income increased 133 percent, with Converse ending the year with its biggest global sales quarter ever. The Chuck Taylor All-Star franchise continues to generate strong sell-through in every model, and Converse continues to expand it presence in performance basketball, athletic footwear, and lifestyle footwear and apparel. Strong growth is continuing this year, with Converse generating revenue growth of more than 40 percent for the second quarter of fiscal 2008.


A few interesting thoughts from the press release. This is another example of a high level Nike employee coming over to Converse, for the same position. The thing that's really cool is that it's a brand new position. I really feel like Converse is in a prime position for growth and this appears to be another example of Nike Inc. feeling the same way. Also it's good to get some actual numbers on how the company is performing. Q4 for 2007 was the largest global quarter for Converse ever.


(North Andover, MA – January 23, 2008) - Converse announced today the appointment of Chris Manley to Converse as General Manager, Premium Products. Manley will oversee sales, design, merchandising and production for premium apparel and footwear including the Converse by John Varvatos men’s and women’s collections. Additionally, Converse will realign the category management overseen by Michael Spillane, President North American Footwear to include Global Apparel. Manley joined the company January 22, reporting directly to Michael Spillane and will work out of Converse’s New York City office.

For the past seven years, Manley was the President of Menswear at Theory overseeing sales, design, production and merchandising where he was instrumental in driving the overall growth of Theory’s men’s apparel business. Manley was also integral in leading the growth and development of new categories including tailored clothing, dress shirts and ties. Before joining Theory, Manley spent three years at Hugo Boss as Senior Vice President, Product Development. Prior to Hugo Boss, Manley worked for over 10 years in the apparel


This is also an exciting hire because it comes from outside of Nike Inc. The brand's appeal is reaching out to attract others. It says in the press release that Chris will oversee sales, design, merchandising and production for premium apparel and footwear including the Converse by John Varvatos men’s and women’s collections. As someone that hasn't seen the numbers, this appears to be evidence that the Varvatos line is doing well enough to make this hire. I haven't gotten any of the apparel yet, but all of the Varvatos shoes I own are wonderful.

Well, that's it for today. I saw news on these hires yesterday and I just wanted share some thoughts on them. I wish them both luck in continuing to advance the Converse brand. Thanks for checking out the blog and remember to vote on the poll, only a few days left.

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