When word got out last winter that Fritz Taylor was leaving Nike, many jaws dropped. Fritz had been a lifer at Nike and his work was well respected, as was his prodigious work ethic. The next question was, where would Fritz go next? Would he return to Europe, or would he find something new to focus on? Well, Fritz Taylor has landed, and a great landing it is, as he is now heading up the Brooks footwear team!
Fritz Taylor is another one of the amazing people that I have met in this business. After 19 years at Nike, both in the U.S. and in Europe, Fritz took some time off and then joined the team at Brooks Running as their Senior Vice President of Footwear on Monday, December 3, 2007.
Like Kirk Richardson, Taylor is one of those guys who breathes his avocation, and likes the good challenge. Fritz Taylor, in my mind, was the guy who helped lead Nike back on the performance footwear path. Under his leadership, Nike running shoes started looking like running shoes again, but also feeling like them.
And again, like Richardson, Fritz has looked outside his business home for nearly two decades to find a new challenge. Brooks Running is the number two performance running brand in the specialty running channel ( the food chain is ASICS, Brooks, New Balance and Saucony (too close to tell), Mizuno, Nike, adidas, Reebok).
Taylor's send of humor, his sense of design and his work ethic will go along way at Brooks Running. Kudos to Brook's President Jim Weber, who continues to develop one of the best footwear teams in our business.
We have attached the press release from Brooks Running on Fritz joining the Brooks team, and wish him luck in his new position!
Brooks® Appoints Fritz Taylor to Lead Footwear Team
Leading Running Company Adds Footwear Phenom to Executive Lineup
Bothell, Wash. – Dec. 4, 2007
Brooks Sports, Inc., a leading running company headquartered in Bothell, Wash., today announced running industry veteran Fritz Taylor joins its executive team as senior vice president of footwear.
Taylor comes to Brooks with 19 years of experience in the footwear industry. With a long-time passion for running shoes, a knack for identifying consumer trends, and a track record for developing industry-leading products, Taylor now leads the Brooks’ entire footwear product team, including design, development, and merchandising. His goal is to foster creativity and a cohesive product vision and direction, sharpening the team’s fervent focus on making best-in-class running shoes.
“I am very excited to join the Brooks team,” Taylor said. “I have a high level of respect and admiration for the focused commitment to performance running that Brooks has shown over the last six years.”
Taylor previously spent his career at NIKE, Inc., starting as an EKIN tech rep and working his way up to hold various other positions within the company. He most recently served as Nike’s global category footwear leader for Running.
Taylor now joins an award-winning team at Brooks who have been responsible for many industry leading running shoes including the Adrenaline™ GTS, Beast®, Addiction™, and Glycerin®. Most recently, Runner’s World granted the Trance™ 7 its coveted Editor’s Choice award in its Fall 2007 Shoe Review. Likewise, the Trance™ 7 received the award for Best Motion Stabilizing Shoe from Running Network in its 2007 Fall Shoe Guide.
“Fritz will play a key role in helping Brooks continue to deliver on our promise to provide leading product solutions for all runners,” said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks Sports, Inc. “With his experience in the footwear industry and running community, we expect Fritz to positively influence all aspects of our performance running footwear collection and enhance the vision our team has created.”
As global category footwear leader for Nike Running, Taylor implemented strategic changes that resulted in the overall growth of the company’s running category and reversed a decline in market share with runners and running specialty accounts. Additionally, he served as one of the core founders of Nike’s “Bowerman” range—a product line honoring one of the company’s co-founders—and was responsible for bringing to market running shoes that either ranked No. 1 in their category or No. 1 in the industry as a whole.
Taylor’s first official day with Brooks—Monday, Dec. 3—marks a profound new chapter in his rich professional and personal history rooted in running.
“I started running in high school but didn't become really passionate about it until college. At the same time I became equally interested in and fanatical about running shoes,” said Taylor. “I still remember the first pair of “real performance” running shoes I bought—Brooks Villanovas. If you had asked me then what my dream job would be, this is it—leading the team that designs and develops running shoes at a passionate and focused running company like Brooks.”
Brooks Sports, Inc. is a leading running company that designs and markets a line of performance footwear, apparel and accessories in more than 40 countries worldwide. A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Brooks was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., near Seattle. The company’s mission is to inspire everyone to run and be active by creating innovative gear that keeps them running longer, farther, and faster. Visit brooksrunning.com for more information.