Foot Locker CEO to Retire in December

11/4/2014
The board of directors of Foot Locker, Inc. reports that as part of a planned succession process, Ken Hicks intends to retire as president and CEO of the company on Dec. 1, 2014.

Hicks will continue as executive chairman of the board through the company's annual meeting of shareholders in May 2015 and will then step down from the board. Hicks will be succeeded as president and CEO by Richard (Dick) A. Johnson, who has been with Foot Locker for almost two decades, and has played an integral role in developing and executing the company's highly successful strategic plan along with Hicks. Johnson has also been appointed to the company's board of directors, effective Dec. 1, 2014.

As executive chairman, Hicks will remain actively involved at the company, participating in day-to-day operations through the first quarter of fiscal 2015, in order to ensure a smooth transition process. As part of this, Hicks and Johnson are currently working closely together to develop the next phase of the company's long-range strategic plan, which is being spearheaded by Johnson and is expected to be presented to the investment community in the spring of next year.

Nicholas DiPaolo, lead director of the company's board of directors, said, "When Ken joined Foot Locker over five years ago, we discussed the company's key priorities – establishing a plan for strong, sustainable growth that leverages Foot Locker's exceptional position in the market and developing the next generation of leaders, including ensuring an orderly CEO succession process. Ken has delivered exceptionally well on these and all fronts, and we are grateful to him."

DiPaolo continued, "Dick Johnson's contributions through his 17 years at Foot Locker, during which time he has led all of our major businesses in the U.S., International, and Direct to Customer, make him uniquely qualified to lead Foot Locker. He has been instrumental to the company's success, working closely with Ken in creating and implementing the strategic business plan for the organization that has led to outstanding operational and financial results. We look forward to Foot Locker's strong future with Dick leading the company."

DiPaolo noted that, under Hicks' leadership, the company has achieved dramatic gains across all key metrics. Specifically, in 2013 sales increased to $6.5 billion from $4.9 billion in 2009. During the same period, earnings before interest and taxes have grown to 10.4 percent of sales from 2.8 percent, net income has grown to 6.6 percent of sales from 1.8 percent, and return on invested capital has risen to 14.1 percent from 5.3 percent. Since the beginning of 2010 through today, the company has returned more than $1.2 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, and over the same period, the company's market capitalization has increased from $1.8 billion to approximately $8 billion.

Hicks said, "It has been an honor to lead Foot Locker, and the company's performance is the direct result of the work of an exceptional team at all levels of the organization. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together, including that we will soon report on our 19th consecutive quarter of strong sales and profit growth. And we believe we have robust potential for continued success due to the strength of our brand banners, the innovation delivered to us by our vendor partners, the loyalty of our customers and the spirit of our associates.

"As we look ahead, the company is positioned to benefit enormously from Dick's clear vision and great talent in all areas that are integral to long-term growth," Hicks continued. "I look forward to seeing Foot Locker achieve its next level of success with Dick as its leader."

Johnson said, "Under Ken's leadership, Foot Locker's culture has been defined by a shared goal of putting our customers first in order to deliver strong performance – and it is serving us very well. This drive has been firmly established across our organization, and I am committed to building on our success and continuing our progress. We are fortunate to have an experienced leadership team in place, deeply dedicated associates and strong vendor partners. Together we will continue to strive to make Foot Locker an enduring leader in the retail marketplace."

Johnson, 56, joined Foot Locker in 1997, when the company acquired Eastbay, where he had been on the senior leadership team. He assumed his current position as Chief Operating Officer of Foot Locker in May 2012. As COO, in addition to playing a key role in developing the company's long-range strategic plan, he has also led the successful acquisition and integration of Runners Point in Germany as well as the major store remodeling program across the company's base, which has yielded very strong results.

Before assuming the COO position, Johnson had previously served as executive vice president and group president – Retail Stores, following roles including president and CEO of the company's Foot Locker divisions in the U.S., president and CEO of Foot Locker Europe, and president and CEO of Footlocker.com/Eastbay. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

Hicks, 61, became president and CEO of Foot Locker in August, 2009, having served as a senior retail industry executive for more than 27 years. He became chairman of the board in 2010. Immediately before joining Foot Locker, he was president and Chief Merchandising Officer of J.C. Penney company, Inc. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Foot Locker, Inc. is a specialty athletic retailer that, as of Aug. 2, 2014, operated 3,460 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Through its Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction, Lady Foot Locker, Champs Sports, SIX:02, Runners Point, and Sidestep retail stores, as well as its direct-to customer channels, including footlocker.com, kidsfootlocker.com, footaction.com, ladyfootlocker.com, champssports.com, eastbay.com, six02.com, runnerspoint.com, and sidestep-shoes.com, the company is a leading provider of athletic footwear and apparel.
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