K2 Skis & Skates, which in early October was up on the selling block by Newell Brands, named multiple new hires within its marketing ranks.
The company noted that the promotions and hires came after “a flurry of corporate news that brought into question K2 Sports’ future,” and said it felt compelled to make “a statement about its health and longevity.”
Valerie Long was named marketing manager – K2 Skis & Skates, Dan Mayers was promoted to marketing department coordinator and Adam Harkness stepped in as the new social and digital media strategist.
Long brings more than 20 years of marketing communications experience to K2 having previously worked on the agency and client side for multiple non-profits and major consumer brands. She will be responsible for overseeing the overall K2 brand message for ski and skate, trade shows, DTC strategy, campaign creation, influencer management, co-op marketing and creative management and communication. Long is an avid outdoor and winter sports enthusiast who gained her appreciation for the colder months while launching her career in the Northeast after college. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA.
Dan Mayers, who previously worked in dealer services for K2 Sports, will manage all the behind-the-scenes work for the marketing department from direct consumer responses on social media to POP item fulfillment and marketing demo inventory management. Prior to K2 he worked as an instructor at Mammoth Mountain and served as a park ranger for the U.S. Forest Service in the Inyo National Forest around Mammoth Lakes. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography/GIS from Utah State University and a business and marketing certificate from the University of Washington.
Adam Harkness joined K2 in September as digital & social media strategist to oversee the brand’s online presence. Harkness most recently worked as the e-mail & social media specialist for Full Circle in Seattle and as the content marketing specialist for the Institute for Corporate Productivity in Seattle. He holds an MBA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University.
The latest hires round out K2 Sports’ organizational structure formed in 2016 driven by several top influencers in the winter sports industry. Robert Marcovitch rejoined the company as president earlier this year, coming from sister-brand Coleman. During his previous tenure at the helm of K2, he helped the company achieve eight straight years of growth and profitability in a challenging market, officials said.
“K2 is in the healthiest position the company has experienced over the past several seasons,” Marcovitch said. “The new marketing team will give us the bandwidth to further establish K2’s brands as leaders in each discipline, strengthen long-held relationships with our dealers and build excitement within the market.”
In other moves, Alex Draper, who has worked with K2 Sports in product management and operational positions for 21 years, was named global vice president of marketing responsible for marketing and product line management. He has been a member of K2 Sports’ executive team for the past seven years with responsibilities across its hardgoods, apparel, and footwear programs.
“For K2, the foundation of great marketing is great product,” Draper said. “In keeping with K2’s 54-year legacy, we have aligned our organization and resources to fuel the next generation of innovations and pioneers.”
Hunter Waldron, an 18-year K2 veteran, is the new global brand director for K2 Skis, Snowboards and Skates with responsibility for marketing vision, strategy, and execution. Long and Mayers report to Hunter under the new marketing structure as well as Nick Meilleur, marketing specialist – digital & social, and Kjell Ellefson, marketing specialist – athletes, partners & influencers. Waldron has six years in professional video production and an audiovisual communication master’s degree from Stendhal University in Grenoble, France. Ellefson is a former pro freeride telemark skier, digital media expert and, most recently, the photo editor for Freeskier.
Additionally, K2 brought back on Hayter Communications as its public relations agency of record. Agency founder Ryan Hayter was instrumental in building K2’s editorial presence as the company’s first in-house PR representative in the late ’90s, officials said, and his agency later went on to manage consumer PR and strategic communication development for K2 Sports through 2012.
K2 Sports, based in Seattle, WA, operates 10 brands and is globally renowned for its non-traditional advertising, graphics, and high performance products throughout its portfolio. With wholly-owned subsidiaries in Canada, Central Europe, Japan, Korea, and Scandinavia and distribution in more than 60 countries, K2 Sports is a leader across multiple categories of sporting goods.
On October 4, Newell Brands said it was putting the winter sports brands it obtained via its acquisition of Jarden Corp. up for sale, including the iconic K2, Marker and Volkl brands.
Ski brands Line, Full Tilt, Madshus and Backcounty Access (under the K2 umbrella) and Dalbello (under Volkl) are also on the sales block, as well as athletic brand Zoot Sports, cycling apparel brand Squadra and the remainder of K2 Sports, which includes its in-line skates and sports accessories business.
In all, Newell said it plans to put about 10 percent of the portfolio up for sale. Beyond the sale list of active-lifestyle brands, Newell plans to sell the vast majority of its tools segment; its heaters, humidifiers and fans businesses and its consumer-storage container brands. The total 2015 net sales of the businesses held for sale are approximately $1.5 billion, including about $100 million of previously announced exits or assets held for sale.