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Updated: Big changes at Easton-Bell Sports

Published February 13, 2013
Former Bell Sports owner Terry Lee returns as chairman and CEO as Paul Harrington and Donna Flood depart.

VAN NUYS, CA (BRAIN) — Easton-Bell Sports announced some major changes to its management team Wednesday as Terry Lee — whose history with Bell Sports dates to 1984 — steps back into the CEO role. Lee replaces Paul Harrington, who resigned. Donna Flood, who was EBS' chief operating officer and president of its Giro/Easton Cycling division, also has resigned.

Longtime Giro manager Greg Shapleigh has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of Giro/Easton Cycling, and Jessica Klodnicki has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of the Bell/Blackburn division. Shapleigh and Klodnicki will report directly to Lee.

In a conference call with BRAIN, Lee said he was "delighted" to return to the company and said EBS will refocus its attentions on the independent bicycle dealer channel, while continuing its multi-channel distribution strategy.

EBS also announced that Tim Mayhew has been appointed president and chief operating officer. Mayhew is managing director of Fenway Consulting Partners, the private equity firm that owns EBS. Mayhew has been an EBS board member since 2004.

Lee's long history with Bell

After a career with Wilson Sporting Goods (then owned by PepsiCo), Lee and a partner bought Bell in 1984. He's been associated with the brand ever since; he was CEO when the company went public in 1992 and its leader when it acquired Blackburn and Giro in the '90s.

In 2004 Fenway Partners bought Bell, later merging it with its Riddell and Easton properties. Currently, Bell-Easton Sports has two main divisions: Team Sports sells Easton and Riddell products for baseball, hockey, football and lacrosse; Action Sports sells Bell, Blackburn, Giro and Easton products for cycling, ski/snowboard and powersports.

Lee, now 63, has most recently been a member of the EBS board, a consultant to the company and chairman of Bell Automotive Products.

Lee is an avid cyclist and skier and said the company will be paying extra attention to the independent bicycle dealer. "We are a multi-channel company for sure, but we are very cognizant that we built the business over the years with a focus on the IBDs," he told BRAIN.

Changes

EBS reorganized its Action Sports brands last year, separating it into the Giro/Easton and Bell/Blackburn divisions, now led by Shapleigh and Klodnicki, respectively.

The organization also has seen a lot of turnover recently, including the departures of Scott Oliver, who was director of North American sales for cycling, and of Don Palermini and Jeff Titone. Palermini was director of marketing for Bell and Blackburn and Titone was a brand manager. Earlier last year, Steve Bigelow and Bernie Doering each resigned. Bigelow had been president of the Bell and Blackburn brands and Doering was senior vice president of global sales for the Action Sports division.

Harrington had been with EBS since 2008. Previously he had been with Reebok, Levi Strauss & Co. and Ford Motor Co. An EBS press release said Harrington resigned "to spend more time with his family on the East Coast."

Flood joined EBS in January 2009 after working at Reebok since 1998.

EBS is also looking to add new managers, the company said Wednesday. The company is recruiting a senior vice president of sales who would report to Lee, and also will add regional sales managers for the specialty market. The company also will be adding cycling apparel sales managers to support Giro's new clothing products.

Watch for more on this story in the March 1 issue of BRAIN.

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