From floatcraft to footwear. That sums up the recent career trajectory of Sue Rechner, who, after stepping down as CEO of paddling powerhouse Confluence Outdoor was recently named president of shoe giant Merrell…
Rechner headed Greenville, S.C.'s Confluence -- which owns brands Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Mad River Canoe, Wave Sport, Harmony, Adventure Technology and Boardworks – for more than a decade before stepping down earlier this spring. She was replaced by new CEO Richard Krause Feb. 15. Rechner continues to be a shareholder in the company, and left on good terms.
“Sue built a world-class organization at Confluence Outdoor dedicated to product innovation and best-in class customer service,” says Paul Vigano, senior managing director at J.H. Whitney & Co., LLC, the private equity firm that owns Confluence Outdoor. “She built a strong foundation brought continued growth to Confluence and our retail partners. She is leaving Confluence a much stronger organization and well positioned for the future.”
“After nearly a decade as part of the Confluence Outdoor family, I feel it’s time to move on,” Rechner said upon leaving. “I’m proud of the amazing brands and the incredibly talented team that I’ve had the honor to work with – we built Confluence Outdoor into the global leader in paddlesports. I’m excited about its future and look forward to seeing the brands, and the health and vitality of paddlesports, continue to grow.”
Now at Merrell, Rechner will report directly to the Wolverine Outdoor and Lifestyle Group President, Todd Spaletto, who recently joined the Wolverine Worldwide from The North Face.
Rechner has over 25 years of global brand building experience with the majority spent in the outdoor industry. Prior to leading Confluence Outdoor, she was the president and director for Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc. and concurrently held the position of global chief executive officer for the time piece and apparel divisions of Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.
“Sue has a consistent track record of building brands and delivering growth in the outdoor industry,” says Spaletto. “Merrell is an iconic brand and is the perfect fit for Sue’s leadership and experience.”
“After conducting an extensive search, we are excited to bring Sue to Wolverine Worldwide and Merrell – our largest brand with great global potential,” added Blake Krueger, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Wolverine Worldwide. “Sue is a seasoned veteran and experienced brand builder, I am confident she will have a strong impact on the Merrell brand and its continued growth.”
Rechner holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Rutgers University. She currently is a board member for the Outdoor Foundation and recently served as the Vice Chairman of the Outdoor Industry Association’s Executive Committee.