SCOTTS VALLEY, CA (BRAIN) — Steve Bigelow, president of the Bell and Blackburn brands at Easton-Bell Sports, recently resigned. Bigelow had been with the company since 2001.
Bernie Doering, senior vice president of global sales for Easton’s Action Sports division, also recently resigned. His last day with the company is Friday, July 13.
While Easton-Bell Sports president Paul Harrington described the departure of both senior level executives as a setback, overall he said he “feels confident in the strategy going forward as a company,” citing growth of $150 million in the past three years across all brands.
He said the company plans to fill both positions soon.
Up until last year, Bigelow had headed the Action Sports segment, including bike brands Giro, Blackburn, Easton and Bell, as president and handled the company’s business in the mass channel. But recent structural changes divided the Action Sports division into two segments with Bigelow heading the Bell and Blackburn brands and Donna Flood, chief operating officer, leading the Giro and Easton Cycling brands. This change ultimately led to Bigelow’s departure.
“Sometimes people’s scope needs to narrow to focus on opportunity,” Harrington, told BRAIN earlier this week. “We went through a structural change based on our brands. I feel it’s imperative in this business to be structured around brands and product and marketing. We felt by separating leadership and creating presidents of Bell and Blackburn and Easton and Giro, it would allow us to go faster in product development and channel development. I feel confident that the structure in place is working. We had to change a lot of the different processes in terms of product development and segmentation and sometimes people disagree on a new organizational structure.”
Doering, a former Nike executive, joined Easton-Bell Sports two years ago and had been commuting from his home in Portland, Oregon, to the company’s Scotts Valley, California, offices, a routine that took a toll on his personal life and family and the main reason behind his decision to leave the company.
“Bernie was a talent we were excited to have,” Harrington said, adding that he developed the company’s international sales strategy. “People have family situations and it was a tough situation for Bernie. But I’m confident we will be able to attract talent like Bernie.”