Shinola Names Former Detroit Lions President New CEO

Tom Lewand told JCK there are parallels between running a football team and a watch company

Former Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand (pictured) has become CEO of Shinola, replacing current CEO Steve Bock.

Bock will become CEO of outerwear manufacturer Filson, which like Shinola, is owned by Bedrock Manufacturing Co. He will relocate to Seattle.

Jacques Panis remains Shinola’s president, and will pursue “new initiatives,” the company says. He will report to Lewand and Shinola founder Tom Kartsotis. (In a statement, Kartsotis said that “Jacques does something that amazes me every single week.”)

Lewand, a 20-year veteran of the Lions, says there are a lot of parallels between being the head of a brand and a football team.

“First and foremost, it is part of being part of a great team of people,” he says. “What we both try to do is provide a great experience. With the Lions, we had tens of thousands of fans who came into our living room who had to have a great experience. When people come into our stores, they also want a great experience.”

Lewand also told JCK:

– While the brand has expanded into leather goods, bicycles, and even Shinola Cola, “the watch business is the core of who we are.”

– The company plans to continue opening retail stores: It currently has 15 domestically and one in London. New stores will open in Toronto and Hawaii this year, with more to come.

– While the company may introduce different types of movements, it has no plans for a smartwatch. “We like where are right now.”

– Despite his sports background, Lewand doesn’t expect sports or other celebrity endorsements. “We think our product speaks for itself. I don’t think the idea of getting into paid endorsements is consistent with the nature of the brand we have built.”

– While the company has had to change some of its marketing at the behest of the Federal Trade Commission, Lewand feels that its “Built in Detroit” positioning is still a major benefit: “From the dawn of the assembly line to putting America on wheels to being the ‘arsenal of democracy’ there is a rich tradition in Detroit of great craftsmanship.”

In addition, the company promoted Christopher Hull to chief merchant; Shannon Washburn to vice president of watch product development; Kara Berg to vice president of sales; Whitney Delgado to vice president of design; and Trish O’Callaghan to vice president of communications.

(Image courtesy of Shinola)

JCK News Director