Collective Brands names head of Keds brand

LEXINGTON, Mass. — Collective Brands Performance and Lifestyle Group has announced the appointment of Rick Blackshaw as president of the Keds brand. Blackshaw has extensive footwear experience with brands including Converse, Timberland, and the former division of Reebok, Avia, and most recently served as VP and general manager for the Chuck Taylor All Star Division of Converse Inc. He will start in his new role Jan. 24 and succeeds Kristin Kohler Burrows who recently departed the position to pursue career opportunities closer to her home in New York. 

Blackshaw will report to Gregg Ribatt, president and CEO of the performance and lifestyle group (PLG) of Collective Brands, and will head all functions of the Keds team including product design and development, sales, marketing, merchandise planning and operations.

"We are thrilled to have Rick join and lead the Keds team.  His background and achievements in the footwear industry are impressive, including generating significant growth across multiple brands," said Ribatt.  "We look forward to his leadership and valuable contributions to our Keds brand as we drive market and product category expansion and share this iconic American brand with more and more consumers across the globe."

Most recently, since 2004, Blackshaw served as VP and general manager of the Chuck Taylor All Star Division of Converse Inc., a unit of Nike, where he oversaw the strategy and execution of the Chuck Taylor All Star brand. From 2003 to 2004, Blackshaw worked as an independent strategy consultant, consulting on a range of general management and strategic issues. Blackshaw served as president of Packs & Travel Corporation, a division of Sunbeam, from 2000 to 2003 where he was responsible for all aspects of management and leadership of the global licenses for Timberland and Coleman in the packs and travel gear categories. He started up the business for Coleman in 1996 as general manager.

Blackshaw also served as the global marketing director at the Avia Group, as well as with The Timberland Company serving in a range of management roles including business unit manager. Earlier in his career he worked for Frito Lay's Smartfood division as a marketing manager, as well as in advertising at Clarke Goward Fitts.

Blackshaw holds a Master of Business Administration with a finance concentration from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurial Studies and Marketing from Babson College. 

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