Specialized Bicycle has hired Kirk Richardson, former president of Keen, as its new general manager for the U.S. market. Richardson will move into the position in January. He replaces Mike Abbot, who has been promoted to global chief operating officer, according to a report from Bicycle Retailer.

Richardson spent 27 years at Nike, including two years in Tokyo at Nike Japan, three years in Frankfurt at Nike Europe and Germany, plus two years as merchandising director of international footwear.

He also was president of Keen, general manager of footwear at Columbia Sportswear, interim president at Mountain Hardwear and a director of the Montrail Brand business development.

“I am psyched to be joining Specialized, having been a fan for many years,” said Richardson. “Specialized is committed to our independent bike dealers, who I look forward to learning from. We are at a tipping point in the industry, and it’s more critical now than ever that we work together to create a sustainable business model of profitability for dealers with differentiated services that address the rider's need.”

Joe Brunetti moved into the USA chief operating officer role from USA chief financial officer. Brunetti and the regional sales managers now report to Richardson, who reports to Specialized president and founder Mike Sinyard.

“Kirk is a strategic leader who listens and is very collaborative,” said Sinyard.