Mizuno USA announced a realignment of its executive management team to drive accelerated growth. As of part of these changes, Dick Lyons has been promoted to SVP/GM, product divisions, and Chris Walsh has been hired to serve as corporate VP of sales, a newly created position. Both individuals will report to Bob Puccini, president of Mizuno USA, Inc. and director of Mizuno Corporation.

“Mizuno USA has seen strong growth, tripling sales since 2000 and we have even higher expectations in the future,” said Puccini. “To achieve our goals and to continue to build brand relevance not only with consumers, but also with our trade customers, we need to adapt our organization to the needs of the constantly changing business environment. Our purpose in creating the new structure is to leverage best-in-class practices in key business areas of all our divisions while maintaining our focus and authenticity in each specialty sport category. With highly talented executives leading our innovation, sales and marketing efforts, we will continue to deliver superior specialty brand experiences. I am confident our new structure will elevate our performance to the next level as a leading multi-category specialty brand.”

Lyons joined Mizuno USA in 2001 as VP/GM of the Golf Division. In July 2013, he assumed responsibility for the Team Sports Division including Baseball, Softball and Volleyball business units. With this promotion, Lyons will be responsible for all product divisions, including Running.

“Dick is an industry veteran and he has proven himself as a smart business leader delivering superior results, even under the toughest conditions,” said Puccini.   

Before joining Mizuno USA, Chris Walsh worked at Reebok International, Ltd. for the last 26 years, most recently as vice president of US Sales, Reebok Brand. During his tenure at Reebok, Walsh delivered strong results by developing and overseeing the execution of channel strategies for Specialty, Multi-Sport, Team Dealer and Online channels. Mizuno USA sales teams for Running, Golf and Team Sports will immediately start reporting to the Corporate Vice President of Sales.

“Chris brings to us proven experience in our industry, strong understanding of all the channels we serve, and most importantly a brand centric approach,” said Puccini. “He will ensure category focus and heightened level of service to each one of our channels while achieving consistency in how our brand is presented.”

“I am thrilled to join Mizuno USA to get after the ambitious goals already set for the business,” said Walsh. “In today’s constantly changing world, we believe the unequaled heritage, authenticity and purity of the Mizuno brand are great assets, not only for us, but also for our trade partners. I look forward to leveraging these assets for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Furthermore, Rod Foley has been promoted to vice president, product management – running, reporting to Dick Lyons. In this role, Foley will work closely with the Portland Design Center and global product teams in Japan to drive performance running innovation.

“Rod joined Mizuno USA as a running division territory manager in 2000 and has held multiple roles rising through the ranks, giving him broad and deep experience in the running business,” said Puccini. “This latest promotion demonstrates our confidence in him to deliver continuous innovation to fuel our lofty growth ambitions in this category.”