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 Breaking Headlines

Cove Replacing Retiring SGMA CEO Riddell

MAY 11, 2004 -- The board of directors of Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association approved a succession plan for current resident/CEO John Riddle. This decision was made Thursday, May 6 at the SGMA board of directors meeting in Washington, DC. The SGMA board has elected Tom Cove, EVP, a new post within SGMA management's structure. Cove will subsequently assume the presidency of SGMA International on February 1, 2005.

This should be no surprise. At the past Super Show, leaks about Riddle losing support at the board level were heard, while Cove's star was rising. With Cove in charge, there is also ther possibility of SGMA moving to Washington where most of SGMA's better work is being done by Cove and his people.

"We are very pleased both with the service John Riddle has rendered the association for the past 16 years and also, that he will be available to assist Tom during a transition period thereafter," commented COB Dick Kazmaier. "Leading the association through the changes and consolidation that have taken place in the industry has not"

"We have had a productive and challenging 16 years. SGMA has accomplished much, not the least of which is the return of more than $50 million dollars to the sporting goods industry in the form of grants from The Super Show revenues. I look forward to the period ahead as an opportunity to work on issues, to continue to grow our publishing/communications, market research efforts and reinforce The Super Show," acknowledged Riddle. What he didn't say is that show revenues dwindled so much in recent years the association had to cancel its grant program which funneled seed money and other funds to projects and groups to expand sports participation. Riddle's relationship with the show managers was so bad he rarely spoke to them.

Cove joined SGMA in September 1991 to head the association's Washington, DC office. The scope of his activities has included global business ethics, international trade, intellectual property, public land use, tort reform, product safety, health and fitness promotion, urban recreation and youth sports programs. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from George Washington University and an economics undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to continue to lead this trade association, which has played a prominent role in the sporting goods industry for nearly 100 years," said Cove. "One of our ongoing challenges is to motivate and encourage more Americans to engage in physical fitness activities on a regular basis. SGMA will continue to play a leadership role in a variety of industry issues, such as overseas trade, market research, counterfeiting, trade shows and lobbying."

"Tom understands the issues facing the industry and the association and is well versed in the challenges to be encountered in the coming years," said Kazmaier. "He has played a critical role in resolving child labor issues facing the industry and in creating momentum within the federal government for action against the obesity facing our country. He is a true leader for the industry, with a proven record of accomplishment."

Riddle, who joined SGMA in 1988, will continue as president/CEO of the association through January. 


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