Build-A-Bear Workshop names former Stride Rite exec as new CEO

St. Louis -- Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. has appointed  Sharon Price John, 49,  as CEO, effective immediately. John, who previously served as president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, succeeds company founder Maxine Clark, who is retiring as CEO. Clark will remain on the board of directors.

John has more than 20 years of experience with children’s brands, including Hasbro and Mattel as well as Stride Rite.  She joins Build-A-Bear Workshop, which has strugged in recent year, at a time when the company’s turnround efforts, which include the rollout of an experiential store design, seem to be bearing fruit.  

“I am confident that Sharon has the skills and passion to build upon our strategies that resulted in our strong year-to-date sales performance and position our company for sustained profitable growth,” former CEO Clark stated. “I am thrilled we have attracted a leader with Sharon’s experience and credentials and I look forward to working with her to ensure a smooth transition and to being a member of our board.”

In her statement, Clark noted that in the second quarter, which represents the company’s seasonally smallest quarter of the year and typically results in a loss,  same- store sales were strong, putting its year to date comp at positive 10.3% on a consolidated basis through May.

In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, John said that her new job aligned well with her background in branded toys and children’s retail.  She also expressed her respect for Clark, who she called an “amazing iconic businesswoman.”

“Maxine has built a wonderful brand a wonderful business model over the last 15 years,” John said
 Clark will assist in a six-week transition period and will be paid $29,166 a month for six months to serve as a consultant, according to the report.

Founded in  in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop  currently operates more than 400  stores worldwide.


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