New Balance Athletics Inc. announced that president and chief executive officer Rob DeMartini will step down effective December 31, 2018 and New Balance veteran Joe Preston will assume the role.

“On behalf of the Davis Family and our 8,200 associates worldwide, we would like to thank Rob for his strong leadership in driving our aggressive growth during the last 12 years and his unwavering commitment to reflecting and maintaining our unique company culture,” said Jim and Anne Davis.

DeMartini led New Balance for 12 years and oversaw global growth of the athletic brand from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $4.2 billion in 2018. During that time, New Balance regained its leadership in the specialty running category; expanded international sales to 65 percent from 30 percent and made significant strides in its apparel, retail and e-commerce business. The company also had one of the highest growth rates in the industry in recent years, averaging an 11 percent compound annual growth rate. DeMartini championed the brand’s long-standing commitment to owned manufacturing and played a key role in working with U.S. government and industry officials to secure implementation of Berry Amendment legislation for athletic footwear.

“New Balance is a very special company built on the values of teamwork, integrity and total customer satisfaction established by Jim and Anne Davis,” said DeMartini. “It has truly been a privilege to add to the foundation our ownership established, and I will forever be grateful for the warm welcome I was afforded by the Davis Family, our associates and industry partners when I was a newcomer to the world of footwear and apparel.”

Preston, currently chief commercial officer, began his New Balance career in 1995 as senior product manager, Running and Custom Products. He was named vice president, international, Asia/Pacific in 2002 and vice president, international in 2005 and was promoted to executive vice president, International in January 2008. He was later named to lead the brand’s global product, R&D and sports marketing.

“Over the past 23 years, Joe has demonstrated strong leadership skills, commitment to the business and the customers we serve and a strong passion for building a culture that recognizes and rewards the value and contributions of each of our associates,” said Jim and Anne Davis.

“I’m honored and humbled to take on this role and want to thank Rob for his leadership over the past 12 years,” said Preston. “We have an incredible team of associates and partners around the globe, and together we will drive even greater speed, agility and innovation in this modern age of retail and continue to build this iconic brand while strengthening our purpose-driven culture.”

“Joe is an experienced industry leader who knows our customers, partners and consumers well,” said DeMartini. “He is a talented executive who embraces the brand’s core values and is a great choice to lead New Balance into the future.”

DeMartini joined New Balance in May 2007 from Tyson Foods where he was group vice president, Consumer Products. Prior to that, his career at Proctor & Gamble spanned more than 20 years, beginning in their Food & Beverage Division and including management roles with the Gillette Company, North American Snacks and Millstone Coffee.

Photo courtesy New Balance