Fila plans to eliminate roughly 29% of positions worldwide as new parent Sports Brand International embarks on a “strategic reorganization of the Fila brand. Jon Epstein, CEO of SBI said Friday that the reorganization was designed to achieve global efficiencies for the company and return the Fila brand to profitability.

SBI said it has implemented an in-depth assessment across all of its global operations since the Fila acquisition to identify “the best ways to maximize the value of the brand, while developing a long-term brand strategy, building a world-class management team, and addressing key customer relationships in major markets around the world.”

The plan is for Fila to create regional “centers of excellence” around the world to support product design, development, sourcing and marketing. Fila announced that Footwear and Apparel design as well as marketing offices currently based in Sparks, Md. and New York City will be expanded to accommodate the shift in global responsibilities to those locations.

Product sourcing responsibilities will shift to the company's Asian headquarters in Seoul and will also be managed from Fila's existing offices in Hong Kong.  As part of the strategic reorganization, the company plans to close its footwear research and development facility based in Massachusetts by September 30 of this year and will shift those responsibilities to the existing office in Italy. The company will shift its footwear sourcing center that is currently based in Taiwan to China. 

Fila's U.S. retail division, which currently operates 14 outlet stores, will be closed by the end of the year.
On a global basis, to meet its business objectives, the company plans to reduce its current workforce by 550 employees out of a total workforce of 1900. The consolidation should be completed by the end of 2003.

“The strategic reorganization is another critical step in making Fila an efficient and flexible organization in a highly competitive market and in building a solid foundation for the company's future growth,” said Epstein.

In other Fila USA news, Sharon Noland has been appointed Chief Financial Officer. Noland, who was most recently Fila USA Vice President – Controller, will assume responsibility for all financial areas including Tax, Financial Planning and Reporting, Credit, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Accounting. She will also oversee Fila Canada and Fila Mexico Financial Reporting and will assume the role of CFO of Enyce.

Mrs. Noland has been with Fila since 1993, and has worked her way through the ranks after starting as a Manager – Cost Accounting.

>>> Quickly putting the measures in place that helped Fila USA outshine the rest of the world under previous ownership…