K-Swiss has a new international brand president, and it’s a familiar face: Barney Waters.
Waters, who previously spent eight years at K-Swiss, has returned to the company to assume the international brand president role. During his time at K-Swiss, Waters was the brand president from 2016-2021, and served as chief marketing officer from 2013-2016. (Waters left the company in 2021 to assume the president role at Garrett Leight California Optical.)
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Waters is replacing footwear industry veteran Rob Langstaff, who assumed the K-Swiss international brand president role in March.
“I love the footwear business, and over my career I’ve specialized in modernizing heritage brands and turning brands around, so this is a great fit. I had some of my best years at K-Swiss, so I’m delighted to return and to be part of the brand’s future,” Waters said in a statement.
K-Swiss is bringing back Waters at a time when footwear industry leaders are shaking up the C-suite. For instance, VF Corp. announced in October that Kevin Bailey was stepping down as president of Vans, and this month FN learned that Timberland global brand president Susie Mulder is exiting the company. Also this month, PrimaLoft Inc. announced it had hired Anne Cavassa, who most recently served as president of Saucony, as its next president.
In a statement, K-Swiss credited Waters — a 20-year footwear industry veteran who previusly spent seven years at Puma — with helping rebuild the brand and the creation of disruptive campaigns in the digital world. Also, K-Swiss said Waters “made significant contributions to K-Swiss’ success, returning the brand to growth and profitability.”
Waters was the K-Swiss brand president when China-based sportswear company Xtep International Holdings Ltd. completed its purchase of K-Swiss Global Brands from E-Land Footwear USA Holdings Inc. in August 2019.
“We are delighted to welcome the return of Barney Waters. Barney brings a wealth of industry expertise
having previously held senior positions at Puma, Palladium and K-Swiss. Now he will join forces with us
once again, to embrace new challenges and contribute to our shared success,” Victor Yan, CEO of K-Swiss parent company Xtep Global, said in a statement.
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