TORONTO - The Roots Board of Directors, including Co-Founders Michael Budman and Don Green, and Chairman, Erol Uzumeri, today announced the appointment of Jim A. Gabel to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as the appointment of Jim Rudyk to the position of Chief Financial Officer. The appointments, effective as of February 24, 2016, mark a significant step forward in Roots plan for long-term growth.
With more than 24 years' experience in the footwear and apparel industry, Jim Gabel is an accomplished leader, most recently serving as President of The Performance Group of Wolverine World Wide. As President, Gabel oversaw the brands of Saucony, Merrell and Chaco and had global responsibility for $1 billion USD in revenue. Previous to that, he worked with the adidas Group for 13 years, where he held a number of senior executive roles including President of adidas Group Canada and President of Reebok North America. Working with Reebok, he took the then recently-acquired brand and reoriented it towards growth.
"We're thrilled to have Jim Gabel on board," says Uzumeri. "His extensive experience growing brands for well-known, global apparel and footwear companies will be key as we look to continue to expand Roots footprint domestically and internationally. Based on his record of performance and ability to drive significant growth, we believe he will be instrumental in building the Roots brand globally."
Gabel will be joined by a new CFO: Jim Rudyk. Rudyk is an experienced and proven financial executive with a track record of supporting ambitious growth plans. In his latest role, as CFO of Shred-It, he was instrumental in helping the company grow from approximately $200 million to more than $700 million in revenues, and expanding to more than 17 countries around the world. This experience will help augment an already-strong management team as Roots embarks on a plan to expand in Canada and globally.
"We're excited to welcome an executive with Jim Rudyk's experience and savvy to the team," says Uzumeri of the new CFO. "He's got a record that proves he understands how finance can best support the kind of global growth that we're planning for Roots."
"A growing business needs its financial infrastructure to be able to support that growth," says Rudyk. "I'm looking forward to helping implement the ambitious growth plan Roots has in place. Together, we can achieve new heights of success."
In October 2015, Searchlight Capital Partners announced a significant investment in Roots, acquiring a majority ownership. Searchlight is focused on enabling Roots long-term growth, both in Canada and internationally across multiple distribution channels. The appointment of these executives, adding key global experience to an already-strong executive team, is a key component of Searchlight's plan to realize the brand's significant growth potential.
"Growing up in Canada, Roots was a brand and retail operation that I have long admired," says Gabel. "I'm excited to be joining the team, and to play a role in leading this iconic brand to new heights of success. Roots core values of preserving and celebrating the outdoors, operating with honesty and integrity, contributing to society, and advocating for a healthy lifestyle, represent the best of Canada. I hope that together, we can bring that to the world."
"Both Mr. Gabel and Mr. Rudyk are important additions to the Roots team, and will be instrumental in the planning and execution of a journey that will take Roots successfully through the next year and beyond," concludes Uzumeri.
Established in Toronto in 1973, Roots is Canada's leading lifestyle brand, recognized around the world for its quality merchandise – leather bags, footwear, jackets, apparel, athletic wear, accessories, and home furnishings. Roots has 245 retail stores in Canada, the United States and Asia, a successful ecommerce business, and more than 2000 employees in Canada. It also proudly operates a leather factory and distribution centre in Toronto, located near the company's headquarters.