Former Logo Athletic president named CEO of Lids

Former Adidas and Reebok executive David Baxter has been named president and CEO at Zionsville-based Lids Sports Group, Lids parent Genesco Inc. announced Thursday.

Baxter succeeds former president Kenneth Kocher, who resigned in February after more than 10 years in the position and 19 years with the company.

Baxter also was named a senior vice president at Nashville, Tennessee-based Genesco. He'll take over the positions June 1.

No stranger to central Indiana, Baxter worked at Indianapolis-based Logo Athletic as senior vice president of sales from September 1998 to December 1999. He was named Logo Athletic's president in January 2000 at the age of 35, but the already-struggling company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection soon afterward.

He became chief operating officer of Reebok's licensed-sports division in 2001 after Reebok acquired some of Logo Athletic's assets out of bankruptcy for $14 million.

Adidas acquired Reebok in 2006 and Baxter became president of the Sports Licensed Division of Adidas Group after the acquisition, overseeing business for Adidas and Reebok with the NBA, WNBA, NHL, NCAA and Major League Soccer.

He left Adidas in June 2014 to pursue other interests.

Baxter grew up in the Chicago area, where his father was chief financial officer of Wilson Sporting Goods. He began his own career in the sporting goods industry working for Hibbett Sporting Goods while he was in college.

"We are delighted that David Baxter has agreed to join Lids Sports Group, and believe that he is uniquely qualified to lead the company through the next phase of its growth as an omnichannel retailer," Genesco CEO Robert Dennis said in a written statement. "David's deep knowledge of the licensed sports industry, his experience across both retail and wholesale, and his record of success in leading businesses and people, make him an ideal choice to lead the Lids Sports Group at this time."

Lids was founded as Hat World in 1995 with a single location at Tippecanoe Mall in Lafayette. Helped by the 2001 acquisition of bankrupt Lids Corp. of Boston in 2001, it grew into a chain of 485 stores before being acquired by Genesco for $165 million in 2004.

The chain swelled to more than 1,000 locations by 2012, but now is retrenching and returning to its roots after stumbling in a bid to diversify into providing apparel and equipment to youth and school sports teams.

Lids relocated its more than 400 local corporate employees from Park 100 in Indianapolis to a new, $22 million headquarters in Zionsville early this year.

Lids had sales of $975.5 million in its latest fiscal year, accounting for almost a third of Genesco's revenue.

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