ATLANTA, Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mizuno Corporation of Japan (MCJ) has announced that Bob Puccini, president of Mizuno USA, will retire from the company effective end of day December 31, 2016, and transition to a role as Non-Executive Chairman. In this role, he will serve as an independent consultant and advisor to Mizuno USA senior management. He will also remain a Director on the Mizuno USA, Inc. board of directors.
The Mizuno Corporation Board of Directors has named Mark M. O'Brien, the company's current chief operating officer (COO), as the next president of Mizuno USA and he will also serve as Chairman and Officer of Mizuno Canada Ltd. This is effective January 1, 2017. In this capacity, John Stacey, President, Mizuno Canada Ltd. will report to Mr. O'Brien.
"Bob Puccini has served our company with character and integrity for more than 21 years," said Akito Mizuno, President of Mizuno Corporation. "He led Mizuno USA to unprecedented heights and his impact on the brand will be felt for years to come."
Puccini joined Mizuno USA in 1995 and was named president in 1996. In addition to his role as president of U.S. operations, Puccini serves other roles within the global organization, including Chairman of Mizuno Canada Ltd, Executive Officer representing MCJ in the Americas and several roles within Mizuno Latin America Holdings. He joined Mizuno USA after leadership stints at Spalding, Titleist, Adidas and Head Sports.
Puccini, a native of Eastchester, N.Y., also was an accomplished athlete, earning a baseball scholarship to Fordham University, where he studied marketing and he later received his MBA from Pace University in New York. He began his career as a territory sales manager for Gillette, progressing through sales management and then into brand management.
During his tenure at Mizuno USA, Puccini helped to guide the company through a significant restructuring process, putting the company on the pathway to growth and financial stability after a period of sluggish sales and stagnant growth prior to his arrival. Puccini further established Mizuno as a multi-category specialty brand focused on running, golf, baseball, softball and volleyball. Additionally, he cultivated a grassroots approach to build the brand and business while establishing partnerships with legends like Chipper Jones and Jennie Finch, as well as organizations like USA Volleyball and the Atlanta Track Club.
"My time at Mizuno has been the highlight of my career, and I am filled with so many memories of the people who make Mizuno so special," said Puccini. "The people of Mizuno embody the challenger spirit that drives our values-based team and organization, and I'm immensely proud of all that we achieved. I was honored to serve this organization for 21 years, and I am leaving it in great hands with Mark M. O'Brien. Mark bleeds Mizuno blue, and he is the right leader at the right time to inject fresh new thinking and aggressively address the challenges that will help Mizuno achieve its next level of growth. I know Mark and the Mizuno team will chart the course for continued success and a legacy of leadership."
Named as COO earlier this year, O'Brien currently is responsible for business strategy for Mizuno USA, including oversight of Brand, Product and Sales Management. Prior to serving as COO, he was Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing.
"I have been a fan of the Mizuno brand from the first time I picked up my Mizuno glove and laced up my Mizuno cleats," said O'Brien. "I am honored and humbled by the trust and confidence that the Board of Directors and Mr. Mizuno have placed in me to serve as our next President. While no one will be able to fill Bob's shoes, I have had the privilege of learning from him over the past year, and I know that I am working alongside some of the most passionate and dedicated team members in the business."
MCJ has also appointed two Executive Officers representing the MCJ Board of Directors in North America and Latin America. Osamu Sano has been appointed as Executive Officer for North America and Takeshi Shichijo, currently Executive Officer for Footwear, Apparel and Brand Development, has also been appointed Executive Officer for Latin America and will continue to reside in Japan. Mr. Sano will relocate to Atlanta in 2017, and he also will serve as Chairman (in an executive capacity) for Mizuno USA, Inc. as well as a Director and an Officer of both Mizuno USA, Inc. and Mizuno Canada Ltd. Rodrigo Silveira, Vice President of Latin America, will continue to lead Latin American operations and will report to Mr. Shichijo.
About Mizuno USA:
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in greater Atlanta.
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SOURCE Mizuno USA, Inc.