What Shoes Say
An interview with Angel Martinez, chairman & CEO, Deckers Outdoor
In 2005, when Angel Martinez was approached to become president and CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corp., the footwear and lifestyle firm, he wasn’t looking for a job. Martinez spent more than 20 years in the footwear business and was known as one of the industry’s most innovative executives and marketers. In 2005, he was co-chairman and CEO of Keen LLC, a Portland, Ore., company that sells footwear and accessories for outdoors enthusiasts as well as industrial and service workers.
Martinez, who became chairman of Deckers in 2008, is something of a footwear legend. In addition to leading Keen, Martinez has been executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Reebok International and CEO of the Rockport Co. In the early ’80s, he developed the original aerobic shoe for Reebok, which created a new footwear category. Martinez saw that shoe as part of a movement — empowering women through physical fitness.
At Rockport, Martinez added style to the founders’ vision of combining a dress shoe upper with a running shoe bottom, to create another new category — comfortable dress shoes. Rockport not only grew, its demographics changed. Within four years of Martinez’s arrival, the average age of a Rockport customer dropped from 56 to 35.
At Deckers, which is based in Goleta, Calif., he enhanced the company’s creative environment and its diversity, and developed its brands.
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