K-Swiss has recruited its former brand president Barney Waters to be the footwear company’s new international brand president, according to multiple media reports.


A footwear and accessories veteran, Waters returns to K-Swiss after serving as president of Garrett Leight California Optical from July 2021 until August 2023. Before that, he was at K-Swiss for over eight years, including brand president, chief brand officer from January 2016 until July 2021 and chief marketing officer from January 2009 until May 2013.

“I love the footwear business, and over my career I’ve specialised in modernizing heritage brands and turning brands around, so this is a great fit. I had some of my best years at K-Swiss, so I’m delighted to return and to be part of the brand’s future,” Waters said in a statement.

Previously, Waters was VP of international at Palladium Boots, which K-Swiss acquired. From 2002 until 2007, he was VP of marketing for Puma.

“We are delighted to welcome the return of Barney Waters. Barney brings a wealth of industry expertise, having previously held senior positions at Puma, Palladium and K-Swiss. Now he will join forces with us once again to embrace new challenges and contribute to our shared success,” said Victor Yan, CEO of Xtep International Holdings, a Chinese sports brand which in 2019 acquired K-Swiss from E-Land Footwear USA Holdings, Inc., reportedly for $260 million.

The Hong Kong-based Xtep’s portfolio also includes footwear brands Saucony, Merrell, Palladium and Xtep.

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