Inside Brooks’ CEO Transition: How Company Vet Dan Sheridan Plans to Engage New Consumers, Tackle New Markets

With Jim Weber’s upcoming departure from Brooks, incoming chief executive officer Dan Sheridan has some big shoes to fill. The running industry — Weber included — believes the exec is the right person for the job.

“Transitions are hard on each person, including me. But for Brooks, this is as good as it gets,” Weber told FN.

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On March 12, Brooks announced that Weber was stepping down as CEO after 23 years. Sheridan, currently the Brooks president and chief operating officer, will assume the CEO role on April 26.

Brooks CEO Jim Weber
Brooks CEO Jim Weber. Courtesy of Brooks

Speaking with FN, Weber spoke fondly of witnessing Sheridan’s ascent at Brooks, which began in August 1998 and included field marketing roles and various positions with the brand’s wholesale business. Weber also said Sheridan was an early key figure in Brooks’ digital efforts, which led to further engagement with runners.

“He championed the development of our e-commerce business, and really was the architect of our multichannel brand strategy, which we believe is essential to win with runners because they shop everywhere. His fingerprints are all over that,” Weber said. “We want to be the best wholesale partner for our best retailers, and we want to be good at direct runner engagement and commerce, and he helped connect all of that together.”

Weber said Sheridan also played a major role in helping Brooks hit many milestones, including the coveted $1 billion mark.

“Scaling a business is really hard. We started at $60 million and then hit $100 million, $500 million, $700 million. They’re all milestones and they’re not linear, you have to almost recreate and reset the whole model,” Weber said.

Other running industry players were also upbeat about the move, including Charm City Run owner Josh Levinson, Gazelle Sports co-owner Ken Sung and Fleet Feet Sports Nashville owner Christi Beth Adams.

Speaking with FN, Sheridan reflected on his career at Brooks. He is a Seattle native, and after a short stint as a high school teacher, he joined Brooks, which was his second job ever. This longevity, Sheridan explained, is what gives him confidence in his ability to be an effective leader at Brooks.

“I’ve been fortunate to have this linear career at Brooks. I’ve been with this brand for 25 years, I’ve invested in myself in this team, this business and this industry in a way where I know the customers really well and I know the category super well. And I’ve been part of a leadership team that’s done great work and has been together for a long time,” Sheridan explained. “What I’ve been able to do with Jim’s guidance is develop leadership judgment, and more importantly a barometer for key decisions that can move this brand forward.”

What’s more, Sheridan believes inheriting a company that has racked up the wins in recent years is invaluable.

“I’m stepping into a role that has a foundation built by Jim for 20-plus years. I’m stepping into a healthy business, an incredibly strong brand, a leadership team that’s been together for a long time and a strategy that I’m super proud of and think that can compete in our industry,” Sheridan said.

Because of this, the strategy in the short-term at Brooks will remain the same.

“To some degree, my plan is to have business continue as we’ve been doing it and start working on our growth plans for year three, four, five,” Sheridan said. “I’m so fortunate because of strength of our brand and the strength of our business and the foundation we have, and that’s all because of Jim.”

Looking ahead, Sheridan said Brooks’ main goal remains unchanged: to be the No. 1 performance brand in the places where it is sold.

The brand, however, also wants to expand its consumer base.

“We know with the participation rates [that increased during] COVID, there are more people running and walking than ever, so you’re going to see us expand who we talk to through our run performance product — and content will change because of that,” Sheridan said.

Those participation rates continue to remain strong. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2024 Topline Participation Report, there were 48.3 million total runners in 2023, a 1 percent increase over 2022.

Looking ahead, Sheridan said Brooks will unveil a new brand expression this summer, which was created by chief marketing officer Melanie Allen and her team.

Other key areas of investment, according to Sheridan, include research and development, innovation and new markets.

“We’ve got tons of investment to [embark on] throughout Asia, throughout Europe and here in North America, so we’re going to continue to stay focused on our people, which drives our culture and circles back to all the key things that we’re working on,” Sheridan said. “We’ve got predefined growth goals that ladder into these global markets.”

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