Leonard Armato, former top Skechers executive and commissioner of the AVP pro beach volleyball tour, has joined sports marketing firm the Leverage Agency as chairman and managing director.
He had been CMO and president of Skechers Fitness Group for two years. He will open a Los Angeles office for New York-based Leverage, which did a deal involving KFC and the AVP. Other clients have included Gillette and Reebok.
Leverage, founded by Ben Sturner, said Armato will spearhead a “brand accelerator model” in its approach.
Skechers has received attention for its Shape-ups line and Super Bowl advertising. During his seven-year run as chief of the AVP, Armato landed $100 million in “integrated branded content deals.”
Armato was at one time a prominent sports agent with clients such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ahmad Rashad, Oscar De La Hoya and Shaquille O'Neal. He developed the "Golden Boy" trademark for De La Hoya.
Recently, Leverage announced a deal to help secure sponsorships for the Ivy League. Leverage worked with Skechers on an endorsement deal for marathoner Meb Keflezighi.
Leverage has moved beyond sports into branded entertainment, including working with “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”