New Balance CEO Named Most Playful in Nationwide Search

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Rob DeMartini models playfulness on and off the job

Oakland, CA—April 6, 2011— New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini has been named the country’s Most Playful CEO in a nationwide search for inventive leaders who incorporate play and innovation into the work environment to encourage collaboration and teamwork. The award is sponsored by Playworks, a national nonprofit organization that supports learning and a positive school climate by providing healthy, inclusive play and physical activity.

DeMartini joined New Balance as CEO in 2007, moving to the company from Tyson Foods, where he oversaw all aspects of the company’s $6 billion consumer products business. Prior to Tyson’s, he was with Procter & Gamble for 18 years. 

At New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer still making shoes in the United States, he has a reputation for leading by example. DeMartini is personally involved in the company’s commitment to get people moving, and a clear supporter of New Balance’s community service initiatives. He is a runner, cyclist, skier and community advocate, and from road races to company bike builds, actively participates in New Balance’s events around play, sport, community service and physical activity. He also serves as vice chair on board of directors for KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds.

“New Balance has a longstanding commitment to getting folks active and playing. Rob DeMartini exemplifies the power of play in the workplace and is personally connected to ensuring that his employees get out and play in their communities,” said Playworks’ Board Chair Randy Drake, Senior Vice President of Fitness for 24 Hour Fitness and head of the 2011 selection committee. “He genuinely values the role of play and sees it as a tool to keep the organization from becoming too complacent about the quality of their products.”

 “Playworks is about providing adult role models who get out and play in their schools and communities,” explains Playworks Executive Director, David Rothenberg. “But play has value far beyond the playground. Leaders who bring play into the workplace can create more collaborative and innovative environments that benefit companies, consumers and communities. These are the role models we like to honor.”

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