Elite Sportswear Hires New Executive Team
READING, Pennsylvania (April 6, 2016) – Elite Sportswear, the company behind GK, the global leader in gymnastics and cheerleading apparel, is pleased to announce the addition of new members to its executive team. Jean Lewis has been hired as Chief Financial Officer, Mike Thorne as Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development, and Matt Cowan as Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer. These key new roles will complement the current executive team of CEO, Dan Casciano, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Carter Cheskey, and Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations & Design, Kelly McKeown.
In Lewis’ new role, she will work closely with the company’s CEO to drive growth in addition to being responsible for ensuring the integrity of Elite Sportswear’s financial operations. She will work with the executive team and investors to continue building on the company’s global client base, as well as growing shareholder value through growth and acquisition.
Most recently, Lewis held the role of Chief Financial Officer at Alex Apparel Group, a private equity backed designer and manufacturer of women’s eveningwear, where she served as strategic business partner to the CEO and oversaw strategic and financial planning. Earlier in her career, Lewis served as Senior Auditor at PwC.
Mike Thorne will work closely with the EVP of Corporate Development to strengthen the Sales and Customer Service teams and accelerate organic growth by capitalizing on the current portfolio as well as potential acquisitions.
Before being hired at Elite Sportswear, Thorne served as the Sr. Vice President of Global Sales for Rawlings Sporting Goods, a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods in the U.S. He is the former President of the Wholesale Division of the Yankee Candle, and was the President of Russell Athletic Team & Bike Athletic Divisions.
In Cowan’s new role, he will be responsible for maximizing growth by leading the Marketing, Merchandising, and Strategic Planning for Elite.
Cowan most recently served as the Executive Vice President of Product and Innovation for Mission Product Holdings in New York City where he was responsible for creating and leading the product design, development, and merchandising. Prior to Mission, Cowan was the Executive Vice President of Everlast Worldwide and held product and marketing roles at AND 1 and Reebok.
“We are very excited to add these new members to our executive staff,” said CEO Dan Casciano. “Their experience and expertise will allow us to further execute our strategy of becoming a global leader in the niche athletic sportswear marketplace.”
Elite Sportswear is backed by The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm focused exclusively on the smaller end of the middle market. Through Riverside’s investment, Elite Sportswear is aiming to acquire “best-in-class” specialty sportswear companies to complement the GK brand in its portfolio.
About Elite Sportswear
Elite Sportswear, the company behind the GK Gymnastics and Cheerleading brands, is the global leader in the gymnastics and cheerleading apparel industries. Distributed in over 35 countries, Elite Sportswear products have been worn by international Olympians and World Champions for over 35 years. Elite Sportswear is proud to have been chosen by Under Armour® to manufacture the US National Team competitive and training apparel for USA Gymnastics through 2020 and to produce and market a commercial line of apparel for gymnasts everywhere. Employing over 250 people in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, Elite Sportswear continues its commitment to American-made quality and continuous innovation in designs for Gymnastics and Cheerleading apparel. For more information about Elite Sportswear, L.P., visit www.gkelite.com.
About The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on making control and non-control investments in growing businesses valued at up to $400 million. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 410 transactions. The firm's international portfolio includes more than 80 companies.
Media Contact: Kelly McKeown
Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations & Design