For the first time in 23 years, Brooks Running Company will have a new CEO. On April 26, Dan Sheridan, the brand’s current president and chief operating officer (COO), will take the reins of Brooks from longtime CEO Jim Weber.

A monumental figure in Brooks’ 110-year history, Weber transformed an athletic brand on the verge of bankruptcy in 2001 into run specialty’s leading player with an unrelenting, singular focus on high-quality performance running product. 

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as Brooks CEO for the past 23 years,” Weber said in a company statement. “I am incredibly proud of all Brooks has accomplished in my time here, the foundation we’ve built and the position Brooks is in to continue its growth in 2024 and beyond.”

Now, it’s the 51-year-old Sheridan’s turn to lead the charge at the Seattle-based enterprise.

Sheridan joined Brooks in 1998 and held various sales and marketing roles as a young staffer fresh off earning a sociology degree from the University of Washington. He ascended Brooks’ corporate ladder over the next two decades, becoming chief operating officer in 2019 before being promoted to president and COO in 2022.

Sheridan recently sat down with Running Insight senior writer Danny Smith to discuss sliding into the CEO’s seat at Brooks.

What are your feelings as you step into the CEO role?

I’m super honored and humbled by this — and I sincerely mean that. I’ve come to work here for 25-plus years because of the people around me, specifically the leadership team and the teammates and partners we have. Being with the same brand for as long as I have, I don’t take that for granted at all. I’m feeling totally fortunate and honored to be in this role, but also recognize the responsibility. What’s the classic line? ‘You never want to take over for the man,’ and I’m doing just that, so it’s a huge responsibility.

Speaking of which, you’ve been alongside Jim Weber for a while now and his right-hand man over recent years. What have you learned from him?

Where do I start on that? One, I think Jim is the ultimate brand builder. He deeply understands the importance of listening to your customer every day, staying focused on the frontline of your business and solving problems for your customer. 

Second, be a purpose-driven brand playing the long game. In one of our old offices, Jim had a quote in his office that said, “The secret to success is constancy of purpose.” As a young person early in my career, I remember reading that and really spending some mind space to understanding this is a long game. That’s been something I focus on every day. Play the long game and stay somewhat constant in how we do it.

The final thing is that Jim has maybe the highest IQ in this industry and he’s got incredible judgment. I’ve watched it over the years and judgment comes from experience, but it also comes from preparation and the people around you. I’m a student of that and he’s taught me a lot of things in terms of judgment.

In what ways are you different from Jim?

Jim and I are very different in our styles and I think you have to have authenticity in how you lead. My authenticity comes from growing up in this company and leading most of the teams in this organization, so I’m going to lead as an operating CEO. I know this business so well that I can be in the weeds and still fly really high. 

As you prepare to take the corner office next month, what has you excited? What has you nervous?

Most new CEOs are either stepping into a startup or a turnaround, but I’m lucky. I’m stepping into a very, very healthy business, a competitive winning strategy and a brand that’s as strong as it’s ever been. I’m excited to continue being a part of that formula. We’ve got a lot of room to grow, not only here in our core market in the U.S. but globally as well.

Now, there are tons of things to worry about, but if we focus on the product engine here at Brooks, continue to evolve and express our brand and focus on our customer – the runner and the retailer – I think it minimizes the sleepless nights.

What is at the top of your whiteboard right now?

The very first thing we’re doing is focusing on our leadership team. When change happens throughout an organization, you really need to pull people together and explain the why and then the what. We’ve spent time doing that here at Brooks and making sure everybody’s clear on the next steps.

The other thing we’re focused on is our growth objectives. Global markets in Europe and Asia will be a big priority for us, including retail in some key markets like China. Recently, we hired Gabriel Rodriguez from Under Armour [to the position of VP–apparel and accessories] and we’re going to build a great apparel business. 

This is the most competitive market I’ve seen in 25 years, so we’re going to have to stay competitive in marketing and expressing our brand. We’ve got a new brand expression coming out this summer, which I’m really excited about. Then, we’re going to have to continue funding the product engines here, staying in front of runners and walkers around the world so that we deliver products that resonate with them. 

What do you want the nation’s run specialty retailers to know about you and your plans for Brooks?

Somebody asked me what my vision is going to be for the brand, and I said, “Actually, it’s kind of in place.” Jim and I have been working on it for the last couple of years and building this brand on a multi-channel strategy set up to service the runner where they research brands, where they try brands and, ultimately, where they buy them. We believe the store is integral into the conversion into our brand. 

The other thing is we win with product and we win with these marketing programs we’ve been very fortunate to execute upon. We’re going to spend a lot of time on our product and our programs and how this brand shows up in every single local market because that’s what matters in our playbook. Rest assured, there’s long-tenured people here who would not look kindly on me if I changed things.

More Moves at Brooks

Brooks’ investment in developing a strong team has resulted in a deep bench of talent. 

  • In addition to Sheridan’s appointment to CEO, Matt Dodge, VP–managing director of Brooks International, will become president and COO, effective Aug. 1, 2024. Dodge will return to the brand’s global headquarters in Seattle after growing Brooks’ business and team in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific and Latin America (APLA) regions for the past five years. Dodge joined Brooks in 2013 as Associate General Counsel and has served as VP General Counsel, VP of HR, and Managing Director of Brooks International in his decade-long career at Brooks. A new Amsterdam-based leader for Brooks’ EMEA business will be announced in the coming months. 
  • Carson Caprara, who joined the brand in 2005, was promoted to senior VP–footwear in May 2023 to lead all footwear design, development, product management and merchandising. 
  • Christophe Mahaut was also promoted in May 2023 to senior VP-supply chain operations to lead global operations and strengthen Brooks’ end-to-end systems from factory to customer. 
  •  In early 2024, Brooks named Gabriel Rodriguez as its new VP-apparel and accessories to lead all design, development, product management, and merchandising for Brooks’ global apparel business.
  • Katie Carlson, who joined Brooks’ HR team in 2012, was promoted to senior VP–chief human resources officer to further the brand’s investment in its employees and workplace culture.