Roots Toronto
by Stephen Garner
Roots Toronto
Roots flagship store in Toronto

Toronto-based lifestyle brand Roots has appointed Jim A. Gabel to the position of president and CEO and Jim Rudyk to the position of chief financial officer on February 24, as the company gears up for long-term growth.

As president of The Performance Group of Wolverine World Wide, Gabel oversaw the brands of Saucony, Merrell and Chaco and had global responsibility for $1 billion USD in revenue. Previous to that, he worked with the Adidas Group for 13 years, where he held a number of senior executive roles including president of Adidas Group Canada and president of Reebok North America. Working with Reebok, he took the then recently-acquired brand and reoriented it towards growth.

“We’re thrilled to have Jim Gabel on board,” said Erol Uzumeri chairman of the board of directors. “His extensive experience growing brands for well-known, global apparel and footwear companies will be key as we look to continue to expand Roots footprint domestically and internationally. Based on his record of performance and ability to drive significant growth, we believe he will be instrumental in building the Roots brand globally.”

Rudyk is an experienced and proven financial executive with a track record of supporting ambitious growth plans. In his latest role, as CFO of Shred-It, he was instrumental in helping the company grow from approximately $200 million to more than $700 million in revenues, and expanding to more than 17 countries around the world. This experience will help augment an already-strong management team as Roots embarks on a plan to expand in Canada and globally.

In October 2015, Searchlight Capital Partners announced a significant investment in Roots, acquiring a majority ownership. Searchlight is focused on enabling Roots long-term growth, both in Canada and internationally across multiple distribution channels. The appointment of these executives, adding key global experience to an already-strong executive team, is a key component of Searchlight’s plan to realize the brand’s significant growth potential.

“Growing up in Canada, Roots was a brand and retail operation that I have long admired,” says Gabel. “I’m excited to be joining the team, and to play a role in leading this iconic brand to new heights of success. Roots core values of preserving and celebrating the outdoors, operating with honesty and integrity, contributing to society, and advocating for a healthy lifestyle, represent the best of Canada. I hope that together, we can bring that to the world.”