Vibram acquires its U.S. manufacturing and distribution operations amid global leadership changes

Vibram USA and Quabaug Corp. to merge as Quabaug Vibram Innovation based in Massachusetts. New global leadership at CEO and general manager levels.

Vibram, best known for providing its exterior soles to many outdoor footwear brands, announced that it has acquired Quabaug Corp., its U.S. manufacturing and distribution partner since 1965. The announcement comes after several leadership changes at the Italian-based brand.

The company will merge its Vibram USA and Quabaug assets (both in Massachusetts) to now do business as Quabaug Vibram Innovation (QVI).

“For over 50 years, Quabaug has been the proud manufacturer and distributor of Vibram’s renowned rubber soling products,” Vibram USA CEO Mike Gionfriddo said in a statement. “This acquisition ensures we maintain our US-based craftsmanship and quality, with a focus to improve the service we provide to our North American customers.”

Company officials said they plan to invest in QVI with “advanced new manufacturing technologies and equipment. As a result, the Vibram customer will benefit from the new product development process, laboratory validation, streamlined communications and heightened innovation.”

“The Quabaug Corporation has a heritage of quality manufacturing dating back to 1916,” said Kevin Donahue, chairman of Quabaug . “Our associates are honored to join the Vibram USA team and form the world’s preeminent soling company. Vibram’s investment in Quabaug is an investment in all of us.”

It’s been a busy news cycle for Vibram, which last month announced the resignation of its global CEO Antonio Dus. Vibram president and chairman of the board Marco Bramani, the grandson of founder Vitale Bramani, took over as interim CEO.

And last week, Vibram appointed Paolo Manuzzi as its new global general manager. Manuzzi has been with the company more than a decade, moving up from international sales director. He previously opened Vibram’s offices in the United States and Japan.

In the past five years, the company experienced the good and the bad with the meteoric rise and fall of its FiveFingers footwear — last year agreeing to a $3.75 million settlement to end a 2012 class-action lawsuit alleging it wrongly promoted the health benefits of the shoes.

--David Clucas