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George Napier is an accomplished CEO and board director. His leadership experience spans the globe, and features buyouts, mergers, restructurings and turnarounds with iconic consumer brands including Wilson Sporting Goods, Prince, and Titleist. As a Merryck mentor, he works with Fortune 250 executives in the technology, energy, financial services and global automotive supply industries.
In addition to his work at Merryck & Co, Napier advises startups and currently serves on the board of Active Mind Technology, a software development company. He also serves as a board director and trustee of On Course Foundation, whose mission is to support the recovery of disabled veterans through golf and employment in the golf industry.
Over his 30-year career, Napier has a proven track record of leading global businesses through turnarounds and complex transformations, while increasing operating efficiencies, and building market share and profits in challenging circumstances. Most recently he was president of strategic development with the Acushnet Company, a $1.5B holding company, where he started a new business from scratch for the Titleist brand in Asia. He also led a restructuring of the strategy and operations of Fila in Europe, a $1.2B sports lifestyle brand.
As Chairman and CEO of Prince Sports, Napier spearheaded a friendly, private equity-backed management buyout, culminating in recapturing the brand’s premium position, growing revenue and market share 45% in a stagnant industry, and increasing EBITDA six times. He also served as CEO of Benetton SportSystem USA, where Napier was responsible for a global portfolio of brands including Prince, Rollerblade, and Nordica. He also led each of those businesses through a complicated cross-geography sale process.
Napier has experience preparing and leading several companies through their IPO and post-IPO business transformation. While CEO of Meridian Sports, a group of specialty water sports brands (MasterCraft, Skeeter, and Boston Whaler boats) he led the company’s IPO. He spearheaded acquisitions and divestitures doubling revenue and increasing EBITDA five times. He also served as the first “post-founder” CEO of RockShox, a fast-growth startup in the mountain biking industry. After its listing on NASDAQ, he overhauled the business and re-positioned it, increasing market share in an intensely competitive industry.
Previously, Napier spent nine years with Wilson Sporting Goods, progressing from general manager of Wilson UK to president & COO of Wilson Worldwide. He led a broad restructuring of Wilson U.S., resulting in years of aggressive organic revenue growth and profitability.
As an executive mentor, Napier leverages his strategic acumen and global business perspectives from the corner office – combined with his breadth of sports industry experience and working with professional athletes – and brings these insights to help senior executives and teams accelerate their leadership impact. He earned an undergraduate business degree in marketing and finance from McGill University. Napier has traveled to more than 100 countries. He was born in France and was raised in Canada, Australia, and Mexico. During his business career, he lived extensively in Canada, England, and the U.S. He is married and the proud father of three sons.
“I realized that ‘why’ is really what drives people. If you can rally them around the ‘why’, they will figure out the how and you can be a resource.”
In his interview with Merryck’s Adam Bryant, Napier shares insights on the challenge of setting standards for performance that are ambitious but also realistic, and the importance of effectively communicating the “why”. Click here to read more.