New CMO At Allbirds, New Roles At Under Armour

Allbirds has named a new CMO as well as a lead designer. And Under Armour, also hoping to regain traction in athletic footwear, has tapped a new product chief with roots in Puma and Adidas.

Allbirds, the once-trendy, all-wool running shoe, promoted Kelly Olmstead to CMO. She joined the San Francisco-based company last year as senior vice president of brand and marketing from a similar role at Hanna Andersson. She also spent two decades at Adidas, a leading brand, retail and digital marketing for North America.

Allbirds also named Adrian Nyman to the newly created post of chief design officer from chief brand officer at Arrival, the electric vehicle company. He spent 13 years at Nike.

The company is threading through a transformation plan and a deeply challenged balance sheet. Last November, Allbirds launched a reboot of the shoe that put it on the map back in 2016, hoping the Wool Runner 2 will reexcite interest in the brand.



In quarterly results released that month, the company revealed a 21.2% decline in sales to $57.2 million as it slashed prices to entice shoppers back to the brand.

Its net loss swelled to $31.6 million, compared with $25.2 million in the third quarter of 2022.

The company hopes these new appointments, reflecting “deep industry expertise, operational capabilities, and creativity, will add tremendous value as we continue to focus on reigniting product and brand in 2024 and beyond,” says Joey Zwillinger, chief executive officer, in the announcement.

Under Armour is also looking to inject some pep in its step, hoping new personnel can reverse sagging footwear sales.

The Baltimore-based company hired Yassine Saidi, formerly of Puma and Adidas, as chief product officer. And it boosted UA veteran Kara Trent to president of the Americas. Both execs report directly to Stephanie Linnartz, who joined Under Armour as president and CEO last year.

The new appointments will help “continue to advance our growth strategies, driving greater demand for the brand through groundbreaking innovation and design," Linnartz says in the announcement.

In the company’s most recent quarterly results, footwear sales dropped 6.6% to $351.2 million.

Swooning shoe sales at both brands are notable, given the exceptional strength of some competitors, and show how quickly brands can fall from favor. Even the giants are stumbling, with Nike’s footwear sales dipping 5% in the most recent quarter to $3.76 billion. Adidas’ North American sales dropped 9%.

Yet Skechers, Brooks, Hoka and On are scoring record revenues.

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