After 25 years at the helm of Vibram’s global operations, former Global CEO Marco Bramani annouced his retirement last week, appointing Antonio Dus as his successor.
“I made a lot of people crazy these last two years in the states,” Bramani said with a laugh. “I decided to retire because I was tired of being involved in everything.”
When Bramani first started with Vibram, it was just a factory outside Milan, Italy.
“I’ve been able to honor the position my grandfather left to me,” Bramani said.
Dus has previously held top executive posts with Garmont and Salewa. He joined up with Vibram in October as an adviser to Bramani and during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show last week was announced as the new global CEO.
“The ink on that is still wet,” Dus said as he handed a SNEWS reporter his business card.
Dus said he’s always been a customer of Vibram and has admired the quality of products it’s offered.
“The thing I’ve always loved about Vibram is the innovation they were able to bring to products,” Dus said.
Though Dus remained mum on exactly what changes would take place in the company, for example staffing cuts, additions, or any future of new products and developments, he said, “When you have a new leader you always have changes. I have very clear ideas and objectives and innovation and quality will be imperative.”
It's the second leadership change in six months for Vibram, who saw its U.S. CEO Tony Post depart in July 2012, replaced by Mike Gionfriddo.
Bramani and Post were both heavily involved in the development and products of the popular Vibram FiveFingers barefoot and minimal footwear. While the products were a big boost for Vibram's business, particulary in the United States, the lastest outdoor retail sales data show the barefoot footwear trend slowing.
Vibram is adapting. At Winter Market, the company debuted a prototype concept (which is not slated for production quite yet) called Vibrada, which brings the classic Vibram FiveFinger upper to a beefier more standard outsole.
“We don’t yet know what its target end use will be,” said Vibram Spokesman PJ Antonik. “We’re just gauging industry reaction right now.”
Bramani will remain involved with the company as its global president and chairman of the board of Vibram, focusing on creative development for the brand.
“I’ll still be the chief visionary officer,” Bramani said. He noted that he’s provided several creative ideas that have eventually come to fruition for the company, and has plans to continue to do so. “I still have thousands of ideas.”
“This [most recent] decision has been taken with the objective of accelerating the development of the brand especially with regard to innovation and high performance products,” Vibram officials said in a statement last week.
“We are confident that Antonio will bring a new enthusiasm to this position, especially in the North American market where he has solid experience and expertise,” Bramani said.
He added, “I know [Dus] will bring that to another level.”