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10 Things You Didn't Know about Footlocker CEO Richard A. Johnson

Footlocker CEO Richard A. Johnson

Richard A. Johnson is the unchallenged head of Foot Locker, Inc. This is because he holds the three positions of CEO, Chairman, and President for the corporation, meaning that he is responsible for overseeing its operations as representing the interests of its shareholders.

1. Went to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Education-wise, Johnson went to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Of course, said school is a part of the University of Wisconsin System, which can claim the honor of being one of the biggest systems of public universities that can be found in the whole of the United States. As for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, it is interesting to note that it has a huge stretch of forestland that is used for environmental research.

2. Held Various Responsibilities At Foot Locker

Over the course of his career, Johnson has held various responsibilities at Foot Locker. This has been very beneficial because it has provided him with a better understanding of the various levels of the corporation than otherwise possible. Moreover, it has enabled him to acquire various sorts of expertise and experience, which are very important for CEOs and other senior executives because of the wide-ranging nature of their responsibilities.

3. Oversaw Both U.S. and International Matters

For instance, Johnson has headed up both Foot Locker's U.S. and Foot Locker's International segments at various points in his career. Currently, Foot Locker is still very much centered on the United States, which is where it came into existence as well as where its business empire is concentrated. However, it has a sizable international presence as well, as shown by how it operates in more than two dozen countries in North America, Asia, and Europe.

4. Rose to the Position of COO

In time, Johnson rose to the position of COO with Foot Locker, thus putting him in a natural position to succeed the previous CEO when the chance came up. Generally speaking, COOs are charged with overseeing a corporation's operations, meaning that they have a fair amount of overlap with their immediate superiors in the form of the CEOs. Due to this, the exact nature of a COO's responsibilities can see a fair amount of variation depending on how CEOs work, which makes sense considering the second-in-command nature of COOs.

5. Is Overseeing a Change in Image

One of the initiatives that Johnson has been overseeing is a change of image for Foot Locker. Essentially, Foot Locker wants to be seen as a center of youth culture rather than just another sneaker shop, which is the kind of change in viewpoint that can take considerable effort to bring about. As for why Foot Locker is interested in such a change, it seems safe to say that it is connected to its hold on its customers. Simply put, a sneaker shop that is just a sneaker shop can be replaced by any other retailer that sells sneakers. Something that is particularly dangerous in light of the rise of online retailers.

6. Is Expanding Into Asia

Another initiative would be Foot Locker's efforts to expand into Asia, which seems to be based on two factors. One, there are Asian countries with thriving sneaker cultures of their own, meaning that they are capable of supporting a retailer such as Foot Locker. Two, Foot Locker's presence in said continent is relatively minimal compared to its presence in other continents, meaning that it should have more room for expansion.

7. Still Interested in Its Home Market

Having said that, it is important to note that Foot Locker isn't exactly giving up on its home market under Johnson's leadership. If anything, the opposite is happening, seeing as how it is combining a focus on experiential retail with other strategies such as exclusive products and more localized offerings for the purpose of strengthening its presence in the United States. For the time being, these efforts are relatively new, so it will be interesting to see what their full impact will be in the grand scheme of things.

8. Has Been Investing in Startups

It is interesting to note that Foot Locker under Johnson's leadership has also been putting resources into investing in start-ups, which promises to prove pivotal in the long run. After all, more and more brands are making use of direct-to-consumer retail. Something that poses a serious threat to Foot Locker's position as the middle man.

9. Has Started Up an Incubator Program

In fact, it should be mentioned that Foot Locker under Johnson's leadership has gone as far as to start up an incubator program, which speaks volumes about just how important new brands are to the corporation. In some cases, the incubator is presumably meant to strengthen Foot Locker's relationship with new but promising brands, which is critical when branded products make up such a huge part of its business. However, there are also indications that the incubator program will be used to expand Foot Locker's presence in less traditional markets.

10. Seeks to Spot Consumer Trends As Soon As Possible

Speaking of which, one of the other benefits of the incubator program is that Foot Locker will be able to spot consumer trends as soon as possible by getting involved in the product making process from the very start. Considering how much sneaker culture is influenced by changing tastes over time, the importance of this cannot be exaggerated for either Foot Locker or the businesses with which it is involved. After all, knowing the latest trends in how they can tailor their products for maximum appeal to their intended markets, thus enabling them to beat their competitors for a very lucrative but also very competitive field. Likewise, knowing which trends are still in and which trends are fading out is critical for ensuring that they know what to make as well as what they stock for better retail results than otherwise possible.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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