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Press Releases

KEEN Builds on Brand Momentum and Expands Leadership Team

Three industry leaders with a passion for HybridLife will head up sales, marketing, accessories and special projects for outdoor company recognized by Outside magazine on “Best Places to Work” list

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Portland, OR – June 17, 2010 – KEEN Inc. — a leader in hybrid outdoor performance products, including footwear, socks and bags — announced it has hired three industry leaders to build out its executive team and lead the brand in its mission to bring simple, hybrid solutions to consumers around the globe.

This group of leaders is passionate about play and serious about work and will steer the brand to future growth. Russ Hopcus will serve as the vice president of sales and global market development. Phyllis Grove has taken on the role as the vice president of marketing. Sandy La Rowe was hired as the business unit director of bags, socks and special projects.

“This leadership team is poised to take the brand to the next level, creating best practices, defying convention and enjoying the ride along the way,” said James Curleigh CEO of KEEN. “With fresh energy and 65+ years of combined experience Russ, Sandy and Phyllis bring added discipline and creativity to an already strong KEEN team. There is no better group to help drive innovation in all we do and to assist in making it easier to do business with KEEN for customers and consumers.”

These additions to the KEEN leadership team build on the organizations momentum, ensuring future success for the brand that has won product and innovation accolades from outdoor publications, including being named to Outside Magazine’s third annual “Best Places to Work” list.

Russ Hopcus to Lead Sales and Global Market Development
Russ Hopcus is charged with the tasks of building and executing distribution strategies to maximize the company’s potential in each market, and developing the KEEN business in current and emerging markets outside of the United States.

“KEEN has witnessed exciting growth both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Hopcus. “I am passionate about footwear and I am equally passionate about working with a great team to continue building the KEEN business throughout all of our markets. This is an awesome opportunity to head up global sales and market development for such an incredible brand.”

Hopcus has more than 25 years of international experience in leadership and sales with premium footwear and outdoor brands and is an avid trail runner and cyclist.

New Vice President of Marketing Phyllis Grove
Phyllis Grove will head global branding, marketing strategy and planning for KEEN. She will bring the brands values of creating, playing and caring to all KEEN does while defining the marketing framework for key product initiatives and leading the development of innovative marketing programs across platforms.

“KEEN is such a young, vibrant brand with so much potential. I especially appreciate the company’s values and commitment to sustainability, the fun, inclusive nature of the brand, and the quality of the products. I look forward to leading the effort to tell the KEEN story,” said Grove.

Grove brings to KEEN a passion for hiking and more than 20 years of consumer marketing experience in the outdoor, consumer packaged goods, food, medical device and technology industries.

Sandy La Rowe to Head Up Bags, Socks and Special Products
Sandy La Rowe will bring focused attention to areas of the business with great growth potential, including bags and socks. La Rowe (pronounced La – Roo) has tremendous depth of expertise in the global sporting goods apparel industry, with 20 years of driving product creation and increasing profitability for highly successful global apparel companies. Sandy balances her enthusiasm for work with love for travel and fly fishing and passion for her family.

“When I started at KEEN, I was impressed by how green this company is and how the team lives, eats and breathes the HybridLife way of life,” said La Rowe. “KEEN is such a creative, global business with many opportunities for growth and expansion. Throughout my career, I have thrived on recognizing challenging business opportunities and turning them into business successes. I am really looking forward to this position and the opportunity with KEEN.”

“With these new additions the KEEN executive team is poised to take our young company to the next level. Now more than ever, KEEN is the brand to watch,” added Curleigh.

About KEEN

KEEN was born by defying convention. It all started with a simple design challenge: Can a sandal protect the toes? The answer was yes. Since the launch of the Newport in 2003 the brand continues to seek innovation and challenge convention in all it does resulting in expanded styles, product offerings and a loyal consumer following around the globe.

KEEN Inc., manufacturer of hybrid footwear, socks and bags, is an outdoor brand that delivers innovative hybrid products, enabling all outdoor enthusiasts to live an active lifestyle. Founded in 2003, KEEN was first recognized for its Newport sandal, which featured patented toe protection technology.

The company strives to demonstrate integrity and leadership, especially on social and environmental commitments, while promoting an inclusive outdoors community. Through its giving program Hybrid.Care, the company provides support to a variety of social and environmental organizations around the globe.

Based in Portland, Oregon, KEEN was named one of “America’s Best Places to Work” in 2010 by Outside Magazine. KEEN products are available in more than 5,000 retail locations in more than 50 countries – including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, South America and Europe. To learn more, visit

Keep up with the ways KEEN is creating possibilities, reimagining the outdoors and caring for the world around us through the KEEN HybridLife Community by following us on Twitter (@Keen_shoes) and Facebook (