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New Quiksilver CEO Andy Mooney and Executive Chairman Bob McKnight called me this afternoon to provide context and color to some of the changes happening this week at Quiksilver and to correct several pieces of what they said was erroneous information that has been reported online.
We discussed what is happening with Quiksilver-sponsored athletes, what the future holds for VSTR and Summer Teeth, the status of DC Women, and why the company is shuttering Quiksilver Girls and Quiksilver Women's.
First, let’s start with athlete changes. While the company is narrowing its athlete rosters in hopes of significantly elevating the profiles of the athletes it is retaining, it is not abandoning the strategy of athlete sponsorship, Mooney and McKnight stressed.
After the narrowing, the Quiksilver and Roxy professional surf teams have 180 paid surfers – larger surf teams than any other competitor, according to Bob.
New Quiksilver CEO Andy Mooney officially started Jan. 11. Shop-eat-surf file photo.
And in snow, the company is not cutting the whole snow team save one. After the reduction, the company still has 93 paid snow athletes for Quiksilver, DC, and Roxy combined. That figure does not include Mervin, which also still sponsors athletes.
“We are still every bit as focused on athletes for all three brands going forward,” Andy said. “What we are doing is narrowing our focus. We have tremendous athletes and they should be household names beyond the core universe and they aren’t because nobody in the industry has the money to activate them. It’s not that I am trying to save money and put it in my back pocket. I plan to reallocate the money and to spend more money on the athletes we have.”
The plan is to elevate the marketing behind them in both traditional media and social media as well, Andy said.
Bob also stressed that the freed up resources will allow Quiksilver to sign more up-and-coming athletes.
In this quest to focus and go deeper, Andy and Bob believe it made sense to eliminate the skate teams for the Quiksilver and Roxy brands, and the surf team for DC, which in both cases are not core competencies.
I asked Andy if it was frustrating that so many people this week were convinced he was cutting nearly all Quiksilver athletes.
“I was hoping people would cut me some slack and look at my 20 years at Nike where I saw the power of what athletic talent can bring to a brand,” Andy said. “I totally understand and appreciate that. Coming in here and whacking athletes is the last thing I want to do.”
Andy believes raising the profile for Quiksilver, DC and Roxy athletes on a global scale will not only benefit Quiksilver, but the industry as a whole.
See Page 2 for the truth about DC Women, the future of VSTR and Summer Teeth