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Wolverine Worldwide CEO out; successor named

Christopher E. Hufnagel, has been named president & CEO of Wolverine Worldwide. (Photo: Business Wire)
Christopher E. Hufnagel, has been named president & CEO of Wolverine Worldwide. (Photo: Business Wire)

Wolverine Worldwide has tapped a company veteran as chief executive.  

The footwear giant appointed Christopher E. Hufnagel, president of Wolverine, as president, CEO and a member of the board, effective immediately. He succeeds Brendan L. Hoffman, who served in the role since January 2022 and is no longer with the company. (According to a regulatory filing, Wolverine terminated Hoffman without cause, effective Aug. 6.)

Hufnagel joined Wolverine Worldwide in 2008 and has served in leadership roles across the company. Before his appointment as president in May 2023, he was president of the company’s active group, with responsibility for Merrell, Saucony, Chaco, the Kids Group and Global Licensing. 

  Hufnagel  also served as Wolverine Worldwide’s global brand president of Merrell and global brand president of CAT footwear. In earlier roles at the company, he was president of direct-to-consumer and senior VP of strategy. 

Prior to joining Wolverine Worldwide,  Hufnagel held senior leadership roles at Under Armour, Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

“Chris has a demonstrated track record of successfully building global brands, and he has a deep understanding of the Company, our people, and our priorities,” stated Tom Long, chairman, Wolverine Worldwide. We are confident in the company’s overarching strategy, and in Chris and the team’s ability to execute it with substantially enhanced urgency and boldness.”

The shakeup in leadership was announced as Wolverine reported disappointing results for the second quarter. Revenues fell 17.4% to $589.1 million from the prior year. 

“The trading environment is challenging, especially in global wholesale channels, where order demand has slowed as retailers manage their businesses more cautiously,” stated Mike Stornant, executive VP and CFO of Wolverine Worldwide.

Last year, Wolverine unveiled a new corporate strategy and began to redesign the business to focus its portfolio on its biggest opportunities. As part of the redesign, in May the company announced announced it was evaluting alternatives for the Sperry brand.

In his statement,  Long noted that Hoffman played a key role “in setting us on the path to simplify the business and prioritize our most important growth initiatives.” Prior to joining Wolverine in 2020, Hoffman spent five years as CEO of fashion brand Vince. Before that, he was president and CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores. He also served as president and CEO of Lord & Taylor. 

Wolverine World Wide is one of the world’s leading marketers and licensors of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children's and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company’s portfolio includes Merrell, Sperry, Saucony, Sweaty Betty, Hush Puppies, Stride Rite, Wolverine and more.


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