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New Balance CEO Becomes President and CEO of US Cycling

Jan 7, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Rob DeMartini, the former president and CEO of New Balance, has been announced as president and CEO of US Cycling today.

US Cycling describe DeMartini as, "a passionate cyclist and athlete". He has has ridden in the Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon for the past 11 years along with participating in other cycling events. In his 12 years with New Balance he accomplished one of the highest periods of growth in the athletic footwear and apparel industry, driving the company from $1.5 billion annual revenue in 2007 to $4.4 billion in 2018. US Cycling claim that he, "led the expansion of international sales and guided the brand as it regained its position as a leader in specialty running while also focusing on cultivating company culture."

Bob Stapleton, USA Cycling chairman of the board, said, "Our entire Board and management team enthusiastically welcome Rob as our new CEO. His passion and ambition for both the future of USA Cycling and our sport is inspiring. He also brings the proven leadership, commercial skills and resources to elevate USA Cycling and to do more for our members, partners and athletes."

DeMartini will begin the role in February and seems to have a clear focus on Olympic success in the near future. He said, "As I join USA Cycling, I look forward to working closely with Chuck Hodge (chief of racing and events) in support of our members, event directors and race officials as well as Scott Schnitzspahn (VP of elite athletics) to prepare our riders for the Tokyo 2020 Games. I am excited to join this capable team and very optimistic that we can better meet members’ needs, grow the leadership role USA Cycling plays in our industry and make all disciplines of cycling stronger.”


90 Comments

  • + 103
 I bet he was a shoe in
  • + 0
 Comment win!
  • - 1
 ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh WIN
  • - 2
 I’d love to be a CEO that started in 2007.

One of if not the Biggest bull market ever - gasp!!! - how did he ever increase sales?!??
  • + 8
 As the new CEO Rob plans to hit the ground running.
  • + 1
 New Balance should come out with 29erd specific bike shoes.
  • + 47
 @jamessmurthwaite We're going to need a follow up piece with a full history of USA Cycling and it's fall out with the American mountainbiker. Because frankly, I have no idea what USA Cycling even has to do with MTB.
  • + 26
 Then write an article about IBMA's fall from majority support in the mountain bike community.
  • + 19
 @taldfind: its weird how you can lose support by advocating for a boring trail building style.
  • + 28
 @mustbike: And advocate for banning mountain bikes on public lands. Who would have thought that might rub us the wrong way?
  • + 7
 The second "boom" of mtb, the first was late 80's, the 2nd late 90's, I believe NORBA membership dropped as a whole by quite a bit by 1999. By 2002, competitor numbers dwindled, ironically, XC in Wisconsin boomed, even had record participant numbers for a NORBA event in 2002 and has stayed pretty steady for some reason. NORBA folded and was given to USA cycling. They killed the national series. But would back a local promoter of a race, licence/insurance, etc, but wanted fees and other monies, which were pretty large from what I hear. Somehow they have held US championship mtb races once a year, even though there really hasn't been a true national series for years. GRT, Eastern States, Suburu XC, etc, are not true national events, but are events held in regions by independent promoters. USA Cycling killed off the nationals, but mtb was at a low at that time, 2001-03. It was a money pit, and sponsors were pulling out, sales were down, anodized parts were no longer available. If you lived it, it was sad. There is no reason they couldn't bring it back. I believe there is enough interest again.
  • + 11
 @oldschool43: I’ve raced at nationals for the past two years, and it’s been not optimal at all. This year an official attempted to disqualify me in the middle of the enduro because I was hiking all the transfers due to an early on mechanical. We argued for a while and she eventually let me go. Just a bad organization run by roadies and hopefully this new leadership will help it
  • + 3
 @lindblomxc: I raced NORBA national races and they were always run pretty darn good. No guesses, re-runs if something failed, knowledgable volunteers. They had a crew that traveled with them and they trained the volunteers that were involved with the races. However, the best run series I ever ran was run by a roadie! He ran the velodrome and criterium races, so XC, DH and slalom were easy. Had a staff of skilled volunteers that knew the rules. Also paid out 10 deep!! Pro (money) and amateur (swag)!! The guy that "took over" that series didn't pay out and ran it to the ground with horrible staff, scheduling, course layout. Just took the money and didn't care about OUR experience. I think there needs to be a full on national organization again. I don't have the capital to do it, but have thought about it and would love to be a part of something like that. I know the roadie that used to run the races would love to start it up again. He never made money, but he is retired and super bored now...
  • + 1
 Thanks. I thought I was the only one who was wondering wtf this had to do w mtb.
  • + 44
 When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
  • + 8
 Don't get why Walt Whitman gets downvotes, albeit i didn't expect to see this in PB this morning.
  • - 3
 That is a cool looking shirt ya got there CEO guy. Can i get one without the USA Cycling patch. Looking forward to the clip-less dad shoe out soon
  • + 3
 @foshizz: If we could get a quality made in the USA shoe, I'd ditch my 5-10s. I always bought NB for my running shoes just to get them made in USA. Something I feel is important.
  • + 1
 @oldmanjoe: you do realize that only about 25% of NB shoes are made in the USA, right?
  • - 2
 He’s gone from ChiKen to confusing poems about sales and stars! He’s learning!
  • + 1
 @jnroyal: but you can still buy a NB made in the USA. And if we all choose to buy American made NB maybe 75% or more would be us made. Happy new year
  • + 0
 ...even worse, of those 25% of shoes they only require 70% or more domestically sourced materials to be considered "made in the USA". So basically close to nothing they make is 100% made and sourced in the USA. Chances are every "made in the USA" shoe has some parts sourced from Asia. Also, those shoes that are assembled in the USA are the retro 'dad shoes' and NOT the more popular running shoes like the 1080. It's basically a marketing strategy that results in a lot of people assuming all their shoes are made in the U.S.A. www.newbalance.com/made-in-us-and-uk
  • + 26
 I'm so glad he "has has ridden in the pan-mass"
  • + 8
 pan mass is hella pro bro
  • + 25
 The man certainly knows a lot about dad shoes......
  • + 4
 Beat me to it. Although the hipsters and Lululemon crowd are scooping up the retro NB 574 somethin' fierce.
  • + 3
 @bikewriter: I looked at all the hype on NB shoes years ago and decided to try a pair. Absolute garbage. Wore out in a few months of regular use.
And yes, dad shoes to the max. Thankfully he didn't get appointed CEO of Adidas...
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: i like mine. Most comfortable shoes for the money. But hey, options are ok.
  • + 22
 CEO of a largely irrelevant brand becomes President of a yet further irrelevant governing body.

Can we go back to showing bikes huck to flat please . . . . . ?
  • + 1
 NB provides sponsorship dollars for a few teams/squads, that's more than any one of us can provide.
  • + 17
 I couldn't give less of a fuck about USAC
  • + 0
 A lot of riders that pay their rent by riding a bike do.
  • + 13
 @Hand-of-Midas: LOL that is like 14 people in the US. The rest of the pros can't pay their rent and have to have a real job to actually make money.
  • - 7
flag Hand-of-Midas (Jan 7, 2019 at 13:26) (Below Threshold)
 @Sycip69er: I lived on the road as a professional race mechanic, so I am quite familiar with the professional cycling economy, thanks.
  • + 14
 Does he know what downhill is? No? Great! He'll fit in perfectly with the rest of USAC.
  • + 14
 I hear white with velcro is the new trend in cycling shoes.
  • + 12
 Who's Gwin riding for?
  • + 6
 Reading between the lines. Disaster for USA support of MTB , particularly Downhill and Enduro. This guy is a weekend warrior roadie. He is excited to work with Chuck Hodge, another 100% road guy. And the CEO mentality will mean an obsession with Olympic events only,...NO DH ! This is a f*cking disaster for USA DH. Our talented jrs and Elites MUST go through USAC points system to qualify for worlds or WOrld CUps... SHIT !!!
  • + 5
 You have to love how the press treats us readers like morons. This guy is not a cyclist, please... riding the Pan-Mass Challenge doesn't count. Show us a pic of him on a bike... plz.... Another corporate guy with various industries background is running a united states cycling organization. And we pay his salary.
  • + 3
 pan mass is hella pro bro
  • + 3
 Bring Town Hill to the malls of America that are failing. Possibly mountain biking could save failing malls like it has the ski resorts. Think of how many mountain bikers live out there in cold weather spots in cannot ride. This would be a good way to fill these empty malls. Oh yeah we can't do that because everyone in America is Sue happy.
  • + 10
 You don't understand liability law. It's not actually a problem, and hasn't been for years. Look at some of the legal trails being build in key hotspots. Challenging stuff, DH, big gaps, gnarly rock rolls. Look at skate parks. Recreational immunity laws in many states are quite good, and there's enough case law that stupid lawsuits get tossed out on summary judgement. The 80's were a dark time for lawsuits, but that's past us.

It's simple $$ why indoor MTB can't work in an expensive to run building.
  • + 2
 People aren't willing to pay to ride indoors when they can ride outdoors. It's a very limited number of people that mountain biking is their sole hobby. And to have a concentration of those people that agree on what is fun and worth paying for is even slimmer. I've looked into it extensively. Climbing gyms often struggle for the same reason, but occasionally something succeeds. I was hopeful Ray's had created a successful model, but then they closed down Milwaukee and I lost my hope.
  • + 4
 @dangeraem: Ray's in Ohio is still open and my friends ride there regularly and said it's as busy as ever. I think at the end of the day the staffs attitude has a lot to do with the clientele that shows up. Just my opinion as I have visited both. Ray is truly a special person and has done wonders for us in the Ocala Vortexx area of Florida also. I cannot say enough positive things about Ray and wish him the best of luck in the future with his new unfortunate situation.
  • + 6
 5 years from now pinkbike will be just a place for cross country and road bikes.
  • + 21
 Pinkbike is putting out more content, they are not stealing space from DH/Enduro.
  • + 2
 Great riders ride more than one style. What we used to call xc where I live is now called enduro - huge backcountry climbs followed by huge, gnarly descents. Most DH pros would absolutely smoke most of us, even the faster hammer heads, on an xc or road ride.
  • + 2
 180/180 will never die.
  • + 5
 We still have vital.
  • + 3
 @lindblomxc: Spomer, is that you? Smile
  • + 4
 youtu.be/voNqjCAy6Sg

I only ride Park. *New Balance Kicks reference.
  • + 2
 It won't change a thing and we'll not have anything to do with USAC until they learn to listen to racers, venues and promoters and are willing to make the changes necessary to improve MTB Gravity Racing in the USA.
  • + 5
 Is this the same dude that gave $400K to Trump's election campaign?
  • + 2
 making USAC great again...
  • + 1
 I think this is the same dude that gave $400k to Trump campaign.
  • + 8
 not really: below the story as read in the media:

A Boston-based sneaker manufacturer under fire from gay rights activists is seeking to distance itself from a political donation by its chairman, who gave $500,000 to an independent group supporting Republican Mitt Romney for president.

Jim Davis, chairman of New Balance, gave the money on June 15 to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” focused on supporting the former Massachusetts governor’s bid for the White House.

Gay rights groups have criticized the donation in the wake of Romney’s decision last week to sign a pledge supporting a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages.

New Balance President Rob DeMartini said in a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page that the contribution was “a private donation” unconnected to the company. The company, based in a state that allows same-sex marriages, has often emphasized its diversity policies.

“Mr. Romney’s position on this issue is not reflective of Jim Davis’, my or New Balance’s position and support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community,” DeMartini wrote. “As a company, New Balance embraces the differences in all people and we work tirelessly to create and sustain an environment where everyone — our associates, consumers, customers and guests — are treated with dignity and respect.”
  • + 2
 No but a quick search of the FEC shows he does continue to give thousands of dollars to Congressman Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) and gave $5000 to American Apparel & Footwear PAC which gives almost solely to Republican congressional and senate candidates around the country.
  • + 0
 I love me American Apparel @Patsplit:
  • + 0
 @max2max: Thanks for looking into it- didn't want to make accusations but remembered a connection
  • + 0
 @Patsplit: nice! I’ve been meaning to get a pair of NB shoes and this will tip me over!
  • + 4
 Oh goodness. Not someone that may disagree with you on policy. That's the worst. He must be destroyed.
  • + 3
 Not the #ReamTumor we’re looking for.
  • + 2
 I can't remember is USACycling a for-profit C-corp beholden to investors or a non-profit org to foster and grow a sport?
  • + 4
 the skills needed to lead and grow an organization apply to for and non profit. non-profits often limit their success by not getting a skilled person in charge.
  • + 1
 @mobil1syn: I disagree, but I guess time will tell.
  • + 1
 @mobil1syn: Agreed. NPR actually has an interview/article about this specific topic, 'professional' leadership for non-profit. Made excellent logic. I will see if I can find and and post it here.
  • + 1
 @Patsplit: do share, i am curious to your thoughts
  • + 1
 My wife works for a non-profit, in fact she works in the only profitable division of the entire company. P&L is looked at far more seriously than in any company she's ever worked for. Think of it as a balloon, it's either inflating (more money coming in so you have to offer more services to break even) or deflating (losing money and cutting services) with the hope that it never pops (goes out of business). With good leadership you can have a growth rate that is sustainable over the medium term, say 10-20 years, and have a plan for the long term. It's a dance between the corporate and government models in the USA.

If I was still a roadie, I'd care about USAC, but I'm not so I don't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • + 1
 @mobil1syn: I'll be curious about his long term strategy, and how long he sticks around after the 2020 Olympics. I think the most important thing he can do is focus on athlete development at the Junior and College team level, etc. investing heavily at that level doesn't produce the quick returns (ROI) that corporations are used to for the following quarterly reports. I think this athlete farming is significantly lacking in the USAC. This will mean adding costs with limited abilities to recuperate revenue from that segment (e.g., can't raise membership fees for kids, that just shooting yourself in the foot). Of course, he could offset it by trying to get more sponsors, but they typically want to be involved in higher levels of the sport where there are more potential buyers. (Or Maybe not though if you can get a bunch of kids hooked on a product that they'll be loyal to throughout their cycling lives).

I'll be curious if his approach is "how much money can we make off the 2020 Olympics" versus "how can we have membership numbers higher and more sanctioned races in a few years and prepare for 2024 and 2028?" Hopefully it'll be a combination of those, but we'll see. The article already states he's pretty interested in the Olympics.

I'll be really curious if he can increase sponsorship by making the value proposition to companies. It's hard to convince a company to give to an organization to grow the sport when they can just give directly to an athlete at the top of their game.
  • + 2
 @yzedf: a well run business is looking at things the exact same way.

@Patsplit: solid points. selling an idea and brand is definitely different then selling a widget.
  • + 0
 @mobil1syn: There is a massive difference between sustainability and being beholden to shareholders.
  • + 1
 What does US Cycling even do?
  • + 2
 Do you even ride, bro?
  • + 0
 The guy is a proven leader and a long term cyclist, what’s wrong with that?
  • + 1
 This should help DH racing in America.
  • + 1
 So is he working for free?
  • - 2
 What riders does he want to prepare for Tokyo 2020?
The only good American cyclist is a dhiller – unless the kate girl will be able to repeat but I highly doubt it.
  • + 1
 Who?
  • + 0
 hahahahahahaha
  • - 2
 So every old white guy is gonna get a mtb?
  • + 16
 Too late...
  • - 1
 shaowin: Why the racist comment?
  • - 1
 And what's wrong with 'every old white guy' riding MTB's? Guess what? Peaty will be old soon (I am the same age as him so I guess me as well), so will Rat Boy, Gwin, Minaar, Semenuk, Zink, and every other "insert cool, fast, white MTB rider here>>>>>_____". Maybe those evil 'old white guys' will realize how rad MTB is and poor their efforts and advocacy our way. Would it be better for you if only old Asian guys, or maybe old black guys MTB'ed? Or should we take away all old guys' bikes at a certain age no matter the color/race? How old is the cutoff? 40? 50? 60?
  • + 9
 @bman33: he's poking fun at NB shoes... The official sport shoe of old white guys.
  • + 0
 @Session603: sjw's are shallow people, they only see race and gender.
  • + 5
 @yzedf: Sure, but the rules of internet civility for 2019 dictate that you must assume the worst of intentions for every person you meet on the internet. Based on this comment alone and with no further context I can only assume he hopes to exterminate all old white men. You understand.
  • + 2
 @Session603: same rules we used back in 1999 LOL
  • + 1
 @Session603: dude you is funny !! :-D
  • + 2
 @yzedf: you win! You can claim your cookie at the front desk on your way out.
  • + 2
 @bman33: you loose the internet for today...

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