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Prince announces key promotions and hires

Bordentown, NJ — Prince, global tennis equipment leader and master of the physics and design of tennis weaponry, is excited to announce a strengthening of its Sales, Promotions and Product Management teams. Through a series of key promotions and new hires, the racquet sports leader continues to strategically restructure in line with its five year plan for growth.

In order to build a best-in-class sales team, Charlie Osborn has been promoted to National Vice President of Sales for the Specialty channel in the US. Osborn is joined by Jay Simmons, who leaves his post as Global Business Manager for recreational racquets and tennis balls, to become the National Vice President of Sales for Key Accounts. Effective immediately, Osborn and Simmons will lead the US sales effort, reporting directly to Sam Cook, General Manager of US and Canada at Prince Sports, Inc.

“Charlie will directly lead the US Territory Manager team. I am confident in Charlie’s experience, his relationships with US specialty retailers, his integrity, communications skills, and his style and approach. And with Charlie’s leadership, the Prince Territory Managers will achieve our goal of becoming the industry’s outright best sales team,” said Cook. “Our number one goal is to provide unparalleled sell through support and service to our retailers at the local level, and this exciting new structure will ensure we achieve this goal.”

Cook continued, “Our Specialty business will be perfectly complemented by Simmons, who has tremendous experience and knowledge of the Key Account channel from both a product development and sales perspective. With Simmons’ strategic awareness, passion, and forward thinking approach, Prince is well positioned for continued success in this important retail channel.”

Prince is also strengthening its Promotions team to re-connect and re-engage Prince with key grassroots brand influencers and committed tennis consumers in the United States.

Tennis promotions ‘visionary’ Ken Merritt joined Prince Sports as a full time employee effective January 1, 2011. Merritt will base camp out of the IMG/Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy located in Bradenton, Florida, where Prince is the official racquet, string, grip and bag. Merritt joins promotions teammates, Peg Connor and Jackie Spicijaric, who together will manage all US promotions and report directly to Sam Cook.

“I have been a part of this industry for more than 25 years, and I can say without question, that the team now in place at Prince is far and away the most talented in identifying true, next generation champion-caliber talent and providing honest and relevant counsel to kids, coaches and parents,” said Merritt. “With great product, compelling programs and unparalleled support from tennis experts, it is no surprise that today, there are more than eighty #1 ranked juniors in their respective age groups and countries in Europe wielding Prince racquets — including both the 2010 year-end #1 ranked junior boy and girl in the world.

I am excited to be part of a team that will re-connect with next generation players and reengage Prince with integral industry influencers.”

“The new US Sales and Promotions structure will provide for significantly improved coordination and consistent communication to and between Prince’s dedicated Territory Managers, our network of Retail Partners, our industry-leading Customer Service, our Marketing Communications and Product Development teams.” commented Cook. Prince Sports has also enhanced its product development core with the addition of two new Global Product Managers.

Jennifer Allison has been hired as the new Global Product Manager for Recreational Racquets and Bags. Allison has extensive and broad product management experience in consumer products most recently at Hamilton Beach, a $500MM leading designer, marketer, and distributor of small household and commercial appliances. Allison is well versed in all channels of trade including specialty and key accounts, which provides a unique advantage in growing these product categories. Prior to joining Hamilton Beach, Allison was the business manager at The Bag Boy Company, managing categories including golf bags.

Nathan Price has been hired as the new Global Product Manager for Strings, Accessories, and Machines. Nathan brings a wealth of product knowledge having grown up in his father’s tennis specialty store, Totally Tennis, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Price’s on-court playing experience also contributes to his well-rounded technical expertise having competed at the University of Arkansas followed by six years on the ATP Tour (2000-2006). Having earned his MBA from Oklahoma State University in 2007, Price’s passion for product combined with his business knowledge enable him to develop exciting tennis products for the global market.

“I’m delighted to have secured Jen and Nathan to join the Prince team to further strengthen our commitment to developing leading edge product innovation,” said Steve Davis, Vice President of Global Product Management at Prince Sports.

Commenting on the new structure at Prince, Gordon Boggis, CEO added:

“Over the last few months we’ve been defining a new, long-term strategic plan for Prince. This investment in new hires and internal promotions directly supports that plan and our commitment to re-connect at the grassroots level, continue to develop market-leading new products and better service our customer base. This is an early but important step in defining New Prince and a key part of that long-term, strategic commitment.”

The company recently enjoyed a strong start to the season introducing its new line of racquet weaponry including the unique EXO3 Tour models and unleashing a highly anticipated new polyester string — Beast XP. In the first major tournament of the year, all three Tour Series racquets were featured in semifinal rounds or later. David Ferrer, wielding his new Prince EXO3 Tour, battled his way to his second Grand Slam semifinal ever, knocking off the world’s #1 in the process. Vera Zvonareva, armed with her Prince EXO3 Black, reached her third straight Grand Slam semifinal while the all-time greatest doubles duo, Mike and Bob Bryan captured their fifth Australian Open and tenth Grand Slam overall and their first with their new Prince EXO3 Rebel 95. In addition, the company’s new green Thermo-Polyester string, Beast XP, is already making a name for itself among tomorrow’s champions, rearing its head in the Australian Open junior event, where French junior Lucas Pouille reached the quarterfinals with his Beast XP.

About Prince Sports, Inc. Prince Sports, Inc, based in New Jersey, is a leading racquet sports company whose goal is to help every tennis player, at every level, take their game to the next level by engineering products with visible technologies that deliver genuine performance benefits. The Company’s portfolio of brands includes Prince (tennis, squash and badminton), Ektelon (racquetball) and Viking (platform/paddle tennis). The Company has a history of innovation including inventing the first “oversize” and “longbody” racquets, the first “Natural Foot Shape” tennis shoe, the first “synthetic gut” string and the first electronic ball machine. Today, Prince markets leading technologies in racquets (EXO3), string (Beast XP), footwear (LightSpeed Technology) and apparel (Aerotech). It has operations on three continents with distribution in over 100 countries. For more information on players, products or programs please visit princesports.com.

 

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