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As CEO Steps Down, Ugg Looks to Regain Traction

After two decades with Deckers, Connie Rishwain announced Tuesday she is stepping down from her post as president of Ugg and fashion and lifestyle brands. Rishwain plans to step down in order to spend more time with her family and pursue other interests.

“I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved during my long tenure with the company, none more so than evolving the Ugg brand into a $1.5 billion global, premium lifestyle brand,” Rishwain said. “After much consideration, I’ve decided now is the right time to start the next chapter in my life and allow new leadership to further build on the strong foundation we’ve created.”

Deckers Brands CEO and chair of the board of directors Angel Martinez said, “Connie embodies the best qualities of our organization. Her creative vision has helped propel the Ugg brand to new heights year after year. On behalf of the board, I thank Connie for her many contributions towards diversifying the business, strengthening our retail relationships, and developing a strong brand leadership team. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Rishwain’s successor has not been named, however Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser said she will likely stay at Deckers for a transitional period. Her departure from Ugg follows the March 16 announcement that former Converse and Timberland executive Dave Powers was promoted to president of Deckers Brands, a position Poser said Rishwain was “likely not pleased” to be passed over for.

However, the analyst said “new eyes and leadership on the Ugg brand” is a positive change for the company. “It was not that Ms. Rishwain did a bad job,” Poser reported. “In fact, we believe she did a great job growing the Ugg brand from under $200 million in FY06 to $1.5 billion in FY15. However, we, and a good number of retailers, have felt that the Ugg brand needed more of an infusion of current fashion-right styles that have Ugg’s cozy comfort attributes. In our view, the Ugg offerings for fall 2015 have improved dramatically compared to recent years. However, there is still a long way to go. We expect that the new head of Ugg, who will likely not oversee the fashion and lifestyle brands as well, will bring a more current perspective to the Ugg brand, and will evolve the brand accordingly.”

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