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Today's news...8/1/05

AUGUST 01, 2005 -- Callaway Goes Outside Biz For CEO

Callaway Golf looked outside the golf industry for its new CEO. The board has George Fellows as president/CEO, and has also elected him a director. William Baker, who has served as interim CEO/COB since August '04, will remain as a director, but has stepped down from both offices effective the same day. Ronald Beard, the company's lead independent director, was elected to succeed Baker as COB.

"The board has worked very hard to coordinate its search for a new CEO with its ongoing review of strategic opportunities, and that hard work has paid off by bringing to us a terrific leader in George Fellows," said Beard. "Mr. Fellows is a skilled operator who has a track record of building shareholder value in numerous consumer brand businesses. In particular, his expertise in marketing and brand building is expected to help us continue to build strength in all of the company's four major golf brands -- Callaway Golf, Odyssey, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan. Mr. Fellows has shown the ability to motivate employees, understand customers and consumers, and build strong supply chain relationships -- all of which have contributed to a well deserved reputation as someone who can build shareholder value inside a company. We feel that he is the ideal candidate to work with the board, the existing management team and our employees to accomplish our goals going forward."

Fellows has been engaged in his own consulting business in New York since '00, serving as a senior advisor to Investcorp and JPMorgan Partners. Prior to that time he served as president/CEO of Revlon. He serves on the board of directors of VF.

Firearms Industry Gets Senate Shield

The stocks of Sturm, Ruger and Smnith & Wesson spiked up last week. This was the result of the Senate passing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Acts. In recent years, gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers were sued in many cities and municipalities which tried to hold the industry responsible for the misuse of their products. A retailer could sell a policeman a arm. But if the gun was stolen and used to injury an innocent party, everybody in the chain of commerce was liable for damages in the thoughts of the municipalities. This has resulted in many companies fighting liability suits that have more often been not been thrown out in the courts.

With passage in the Senate, this legislation is expected to quickly pass the House. President Bush has said he'll sign the bill when it reaches his desk. The new law will block wrongful civil liability lawsuits promoted by anti-gun organizations.

"I want to thank the many individuals and publications in the outdoor media for the tremendous job they did in making their readers aware of the seriousness of the threat to the firearms industry from these predatory lawsuits. Your call to action helped remind millions of hunters, shooters and gun owners across the nation of the importance of protecting their passion and beliefs," said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The support in gaining passage of this bill from every hunter-supported organization in the country also underscored the threat these lawsuits posed to hunting and wildlife management programs. Since '37, the firearms and ammunition industry has provided billions of dollars in support of critical conservation programs through Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.

"The conservation community clearly understood that an attack on the firearms industry was also an attack on the future of hunting and wildlife conservation," said Painter.

Since '98 more than 30 lawsuits have been filed vs the makers and sellers of firearms by anti-gun organizations and politicians. The Senate's landmark bill provides protection for manufacturers, distributors, retailers and importers of all legally sold firearms and ammunition. Even though 30 states have passed similar legislation, the federal measure will provide the full protection sought by the firearms industry, nullify pending suits and prevent future illegitimate lawsuits from being filed.

Realizing that any industry, not just the firearms industry, could be the target of such harassing civil liability lawsuits, America's business community weighed in strongly for the bill, with letters of support coming from the National Association of Manufacturers, US Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, United Mine Workers of America and other business groups and unions. The Department of Defense also encouraged passage of the bill because of national security concerns.

Opponents of the bill have attempted to scare the public into thinking it loses the right to file civil liability actions, but the bill's language is vs against companies that sell defective products or against firearms dealers who break the law.

Approved amendments included one introduced by Senator Herbert Kohl (D-WI) that requires firearms dealers provide a "secure gun storage or safety device" with every handgun transferred to a customer. This is already a common practice, as nearly all new firearms are shipped from the factory with a safety device, so the new measure would apply mainly to used handguns. Two amendments sponsored by Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) were approved. One allows children to bring lawsuits if they meet certain exceptions in the legislation. The other provides for harsher penalties for criminals who use armor-piercing ammunition against police officers. Another amendment clarifies that the bill does not hinder the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from enforcing firearms laws.

Adidas and Hot Wheels will launch an exclusive range of vehicle-inspired shoes for boys four to 10 years old (sizes 10.5 to six). Each pair comes with its own exclusive 1/64 Hot Wheels vehicle that inspired the theme and graphics of the shoes. The collection will be available for retail at $44.99 on November 15, in time for holiday shopping. The initial collection features three vehicle-inspired shoes including RallyRacer, inspired by world of rally racing; StreetRacer, inspired by skateboarding and urban racing; and MudRacer, motocross and BMX inspired.

For the third consecutive year, Timberland been selected as one of the "World's 20 Top Sustainable Business Stocks" as recognized by SustainableBusiness.com. The list is presented in the Progressive Investor newsletter, published by SustainableBusiness.com, which tracks stocks in the emerging marketplace. Five leading social/environmental investment analysts select the top 20 companies that stand out as the world leaders in terms of both sustainability and financial strength. To be included in the list, companies must be a "model" of sustainable business, infusing sustainable practices throughout the company, or with products or services that directly reduce environmental problems. On the financial side, a company must have a history of healthy profitability, and be considered "investment worthy" by the judges.

Spyder Active Sports and the US Ski and Snowboard Association will renew their current partnership through the '11 season. The agreement, worth over $7 million in cash and product, extends USSA's longstanding relationship with Spyder and makes Spyder the first partner to extend its sponsorship through the '10 Olympic Winter Games. The sponsorship, which began in '89, provides US Ski Team athletes, staff and sponsors with officially licensed product including speed suits, outerwear, turtlenecks, hats and pants, and offers Spyder a high-profile platform to highlight its product portfolio to key audiences.

Big Blue Marble Sports (www.bbmsports.com), a specialty online retailer, launched its first website devoted to action and adventure gear on July 22. Founded by sporting goods executives Steven Roth, Eric George and Sandy McAra, Big Blue Marble Sports will provide the latest high-performance brands, models, designs, and technology for action and adventure sports athletes across a number of different sports segments.

USA Hockey and The Hockey Co. reached a new agreement to continue their relationship establishing THC as an official equipment supplier to USA Hockey and USA Hockey InLine. THC has been an official equipment supplier of USA Hockey and USA Hockey InLine since '00.

Wachovia Securities downgraded Genesco to market perform from outperform.


Quick links: One-click access to topics in this article.

Sporting goods industry

Callaway Golf Company
Callaway Goes Outside Biz For
Investcorp and JPMorgan Partners
Revlon Inc.

firearms industry
civil liability
anti-gun organizations
official equipment supplier
civil liability lawsuits

George Fellows
William Baker
Ronald Beard
Ben Hogan
Doug Painter

 Breaking Headlines
DECEMBER 01, 2005

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DECEMBER 01, 2005

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DECEMBER 01, 2005

TSA Fined $10,000 In New York
DECEMBER 01, 2005

NOVEMBER 30, 2005

Ashworth Hires Investment Bank
NOVEMBER 30, 2005

Shotgun Sports Attracting More Teenage Girls
NOVEMBER 29, 2005

NOVEMBER 29, 2005

Timberland Expands Anti-Counterfeiting Measures
NOVEMBER 29, 2005

Vital Apparel Group Buys InSport International
NOVEMBER 29, 2005

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