Jean-Pierre Petit, a seasoned French executive who previously worked for Nike and Wolverine Worldwide at a European level, is leaving Groupe Royer, a big multi-brand French footwear group, as part of a major reorganization, which has not yet been entirely finalized. The reason for his departure is the previously reported takeover of the distribution of New Balance in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, which has now been completed.
The American company has decided to retain the sales and marketing managers who were reporting to Petit in those four countries. The business was generating annual sales of around €150 million, or about half of Royer’s total revenues. Among other properties, the group also owns Kickers, many brands of children’s shoes and major fashion footwear brands like Charles Jourdan and Kélian.
Petit has been serving since 2016 as managing director of Royer’s sports division, but he has been concentrating on New Balance for the past 18 months. Among other properties, the division has also been handling the French licenses for Everlast and Umbro for a while. To make up in part for its loss of the New Balance contract, it has added distribution agreements for Diadora, Canterbury and Ellesse in the last three years.
Before joining Royer, Petit worked for 11 years at Nike in various positions, ending up as general manager for football in the EMEA region. He subsequently moved to Wolverine’s European office in London, where he worked for eight years, ending up as vice president and general manager of its Performance Group.
At the age of 63, Petit says he now wants to “give back” some of his experience as a board member or as a consultant, especially for relatively small companies that would need his help.