New Balance is one of those companies that should be studied in the Harvard Business Review. The story of New Balance is the story of the running business. When Jim Davis purchased NB with some friends in 1972, the esoteric brand was New England through and through, dating back to 1912.
This writer first saw NB in 1974, on a teammate in cross country. The running boom took off and so did New Balance. The largest privately held company was known for taking care of its employees and its athletes.
When Rob De Martini took over in 2007, NB had gone to $1.5 billion in sales. De Martini liked what he saw, but it was his fine tuning and the ability that Jim Davis gave De Martini: to innovate and promote long term growth, with a company that had the tools, but needed some direction.
Joe Preston, photo by New Balance communications
One of those assets was, and is, Joe Preston. Preston has been around NB since 1990. Mr. Preston gave this writer his first long term ad contract, long before any other brand. Joe Preston knows the NB business like few others, having managed the running marketing, the Japanese NB business and the global business. A honest, private man, Joe Preston shows that hard work, focus, and allegiance to a brand is important in this modern age. That NB is in the place to name their new CEO from within their own ranks, shows the wise judgement of Jim Davis and Rob De Martini, the support and continued development of the NB team, and the dedication to New Balance of Joe Preston.
We congrutulate Joe Preston on his new position as President and CEO of New Balance, beginning December 31, 2018.
Boston, MA – October 30, 2018 – Boston-based global athletic leader New Balance Athletics, Inc. announced today that President & Chief Executive Officer Rob DeMartini will step down effective December 31, 2018 and New Balance veteran Joe Preston will assume the role.
“On behalf of the Davis Family and our 8,200 associates worldwide, we would like to thank Rob for his strong leadership in driving our aggressive growth during the last 12 years and his unwavering commitment to reflecting and maintaining our unique company culture,” says Jim and Anne Davis.
DeMartini led New Balance for 12 years and oversaw global growth of the athletic brand from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $4.2 billion in 2018. During that time, New Balance regained its leadership in the specialty running category, expanded international sales to 65% from 30% and made significant strides in its apparel, retail and e-commerce business. The company also had one of the highest growth rates in the industry in recent years, averaging an 11% compound annual growth rate. DeMartini championed the brand’s long-standing commitment to owned manufacturing and played a key role in working with U.S. government and industry officials to secure implementation of Berry Amendment legislation for athletic footwear.
“New Balance is a very special company, built on the values of teamwork, integrity and total customer satisfaction established by Jim and Anne Davis,” says DeMartini. “It has truly been a privilege to add to the foundation our ownership established and I will forever be grateful for the warm welcome I was afforded by the Davis Family, our associates and industry partners when I was a newcomer to the world of footwear and apparel.”
Preston, currently Chief Commercial Officer, began his New Balance career in 1995 as Senior Product Manager, Running and Custom Products. He was named Vice President, International, Asia/Pacific in 2002, and Vice President, International in 2005, and was promoted to Executive Vice President, International in January 2008. He was later named to lead the brand’s Global Product, R&D and Sports Marketing.
“Over the past 23 years, Joe has demonstrated strong leadership skills, commitment to the business and the customers we serve, and a strong passion for building a culture that recognizes and rewards the value and contributions of each of our associates,” said Jim and Anne Davis.
“I’m honored and humbled to take on this role and want to thank Rob for his leadership over the past 12 years,” said Preston. “We have an incredible team of associates and partners around the globe and together we will drive even greater speed, agility and innovation in this modern age of retail and continue to build this iconic brand while strengthening our purpose-driven culture.”
“Joe is an experienced industry leader who knows our customers, partners and consumers well,” says DeMartini. “He is a talented executive who embraces the brand’s core values and is a great choice to lead New Balance into the future.”
DeMartini joined New Balance in May 2007 from Tyson Foods where he was Group Vice President, Consumer Products. Prior to that, his career at Proctor & Gamble spanned more than 20 years, beginning in their Food & Beverage Division and including management roles with the Gillette Company, North American Snacks, and Millstone Coffee.
About New Balance:
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. Manufactured in the U.S. for over 75 years and representing a limited portion of our U.S. sales, New Balance Made U.S. is a premium collection that contains a domestic value of 70% or greater. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 8,000 associates around the globe, and in 2017 reported worldwide sales of $4 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com
and for the latest press information please visit http://newbalance.newsmarket.com.