Industry News 9/23/2013

EMP: Zoot Sports Continues Upward Growth With Two Key Hires To Leadership Team

Zoot Sports Appoints Footwear Director and U.S. Sales Manager
Press Release from Zoot Sports

Zoot Sports, a global leader in endurance sports and makers of elite performance apparel, footwear, wetsuits and accessories, continues its rapid upward trajectory in the triathlon and athletic apparel markets with the recent hires of Aaron Azevedo as Director of Global Footwear and Eric Merk in the role of Zoot’s U.S. Sales Manager.

“As we celebrate our 30th year of Zoot, we’re also looking toward expansion and growth in the next 30,” said Erik Vervloet, Zoot Vice President and General Manager. “Between Aaron’s incredible in-depth experience and history with Zoot and Eric’s nuanced talent with sales team development, the Zoot team is poised take us to new levels.”

Aaron Azevedo is a product creation expert and supply chain executive with proven experience in action sports, fashion, sporting goods and footwear. Most recently, Azevedo served as Senior Vice President of Footwear at DC Shoes. Aaron managed the brand’s $500 million global business, overseeing all aspects of DC’s merchandising, design, materials, development and production functions. During his tenure at DC, Azevedo managed the global factory base to increased production efficiencies year-over-year.  He also managed the implementation of product data management systems, increased gross margins, and improved SKU efficiency resulting in continued growth for the brand.

Prior to DC, Azevedo started the Zoot Sports line of footwear in 2006, successfully launching the line two years later at the 2008 Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. His tenure at Zoot enjoyed a $5 million increase in footwear sales and set a solid foundation for Zoot’s future in the brand’s then-budding footwear business. Prior to Azebedo’s time at Zoot, he was Vice President of Footwear at Saucony.

Eric Merk comes to Zoot with over 25 years experience in the outdoor, sporting goods and running markets.  Merk cut his teeth in the athletic apparel markets while managing the family business of the Danner and InSport brands, where he successfully grew and rebranded InSport before its sale. His remarkable entrepreneurial spirit was recognized and valued at Nike, where he led U.S. running sales to a consistent year-over-year growth and improved Nike’s footwear market share from a No. 6 to a No. 3 ranking in running specialty in only two years. Most recently, Merk was VP, North America sales, Roxy Outdoor Fitness at Roxy/Quiksilver.