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Brian Kerby
Q1 2018

Brian Kerby leaves ASICS SA in a good place

He leaves ASICS SA satisfied that he has put a good and solid team in place and that the subsidiary is performing well, says Brian Kerby, whose fixed contract as general manager with ASICS Europe came to an end.

Kerby didn’t want to explore other options while still under contract to ASICS. But, he says, he will probably remain in the sports industry, where he is well-respected. This is where his passion lies and he knows the industry very well as a brand distributor and also as a keen participant, triathlon and running being his game. He is also looking forward to working with people he befriended during his 28 years in the industry, inter alia, as MD of adidas SA.

He is also proud that despite many in the industry saying that 2017 had been their toughest year ever, the South African ASICS subsidiary had achieved its targets.

During the past year the local office had also been restructured, especially around performance merchandise.

Restructured ASICS SA

In performance footwear and apparel the two former positions — footwear (headed by Janine Stokes) and apparel (headed by Barbara Cole) — have been combined into one position, namely Merchandise Manager: Performance. This is filled by GP Sangiorgio, formerly from adidas SA. Due to his notice period, he was only free to join ASICS on 1 February this year.

Stokes, who had been working for ASICS since the brand entered the South African market decades ago, stayed on as consultant till the end of last year, before joining the new distributor of the brand 361º in South Africa.

Cole is focusing on her passions — trail running and photography for events and brands.

Lifestyle merchandise remains the domain of Chanelle Bushby.

Sales is still headed by Craig White, who also takes responsibility for certain key accounts. Donovan Shehab, the former ASICS sales rep in Port Elizabeth, will join him in Cape Town to service other local key accounts. His position in the Eastern Cape still has to be filled.

In Johannesburg, Alan Smith remains in charge of field accounts, assisted by Gerhard Wolmarans in Johannesburg and Dean Wright in Durban as sales reps. Mark Gibson, who used to work with Steve Maarschalk as sales rep for ASICS, has re-joined the company and will look after Johannesburg-based key accounts.

Marketing: following the departure of Sarah Mundy to join the ASICS headquarters in Japan to look after certain sports marketing categories for the brand, Shannon Mandel, formerly with Red Bull, was appointed as Marketing Manager.

Other marketing changes include Ashleigh Bird, formerly from Luxottica, who replaced Rykie van der Merwe as Trade Marketing Manager. Anika Barnard, who worked for Rian Oberholzer’s Access Management Services, took over from Wesley Tam as Sport Marketing Specialist and Dane Abramowitz, also previously with Red Bull, recently started as Digital & Lifestyle Marketing Executive.

Technical: Dawid Visser will remain as a consultant for the brand.

Operations: Andrew Getliffe, Operations Manager, will be joined by Adis Parisius from ASICS Europe head office and Francesco Ciaghi, who worked with ASICS in Spain.

Kerby was appointed to establish the ASICS subsidiary in South Africa about four and a half years ago, after the brand became the official technical partner of SARU and the Springboks. Previously, the brand was imported and marketed locally through the Jordan & Co distributorship, which subsequently became Bolton Footwear.

The subsidiary moved the focus of the brand beyond the mainly running category the distributorship focused on. The Springbok sponsorship has done a lot to help the brand achieve this, says Kerby, especially with brand recognition following the new spiral “a” branding.

“Whilst I’m really sad to be leaving, we have ticked all the right boxes,” believes Kerby. “All brands at some stage go through a restructuring phase, and the past year ASICS had been doing it,” he adds philosophically.

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