Zoot Sports, a global leader in endurance sports and the maker of performance apparel, footwear, wetsuits and accessories, continues its rapid upward trajectory in the triathlon and athletic apparel markets. The full-range multisport apparel specialist has now confirmed the recent hires of Aaron Azevedo as Director of Global Footwear and Eric Merk in the role of Zoot’s US Sales Manager.
“As we celebrate our 30th year of Zoot, we’re also looking toward expansion and growth in the next 30,” said Erik Vervloet, Zoot Vice President and General Manager. “Between Aaron’s incredible in-depth experience and history with Zoot and Eric’s nuanced talent with sales team development, the Zoot team is poised to take us to new levels.”
Aaron Azevedo is a product creation expert and supply chain executive with proven experience in action sports, fashion, sporting goods and footwear. Most recently, Aaron served as Senior Vice President of Footwear at DC Shoes. Here, he managed the brand’s US$500 million global business, overseeing all aspects of DC’s merchandising, design, materials, development and production functions.
During his tenure at DC, Aaron managed the global factory base to increased production efficiencies year-over-year. He also managed the implementation of product data management systems, increased gross margins, and improved SKU efficiency resulting in continued growth for the brand.
Prior to DC, Aaron started the Zoot Sports line of footwear in 2006, successfully launching the line two years later at the 2008 Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. His tenure at Zoot enjoyed a US$5 million increase in footwear sales and set a solid foundation for Zoot’s future in the brand’s then-budding footwear business. Prior to Azebedo’s time at Zoot, he was Vice President of Footwear at Saucony.
Eric Merk comes to Zoot with over 25 years’ experience in the outdoor, sporting goods and running markets. Eric cut his teeth in the athletic apparel markets while managing the family business of the Danner and InSport brands, where he successfully grew and rebranded InSport before its sale.
His entrepreneurial spirit was recognized and valued at Nike, where he led US running sales to a consistent year-over-year growth and improved Nike’s footwear market share from a number 6 to a number 3 ranking in running specialty in only two years. With a proven track record of building and leading successful sales teams, Merk will be a key member of Zoot’s leadership team as the brand embarks on its next chapter.
Merk and Azevedo will be based in Zoot’s Carlsbad, California, headquarters.