REEBOK'S SUCCESSFUL MARKETING CHIEF STEPS DOWN

Micky Pant to Return to India; Dennis Baldwin Named Successor

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Reebok International's chief marketing officer, who is credited with helping boost sales by pairing the footwear and apparel company's athletic shoes with hip-hop stars, has resigned.

The departing marketing executive, Micky Pant,

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will be replaced by Dennis Baldwin, senior vice president for global footwear, the company said.

Mr. Pant was traveling today and could not be reached for comment. In a statement, Reebok said Mr. Pant will return to his native India later this year to help launch his own marketing company.

Pivotal marketing initiatives
Mr. Pant was instrumental in launching four major initiatives last year for Reebok, which is the world's No. 2 sneaker and apparel company behind Nike. Reebok had two separate ad campaigns in 2003, beginning the year with the "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" Super Bowl spot that became a pop-culture phenomenon. Reebok also had a branding campaign, from Omnicom Group's Arnell, New York, that featured the tagline "Wear the Vector. Outperform."

But what boosted sales were its signature sneaker lines from rap artists Jay-Z and 50 Cent. It was the first time an athletic footwear company had turned to an endorser other than an athlete, and it was an unqualified success -- Jay-Z's sneaker line sold out immediately after its debut in April, and 50 Cent's did the same in November.

Reebok also lured 7-foot-6 National Basketball Association star Yao Ming to the fold last year.

Agency relationship
The transition this year from Mr. Pant to Mr. Baldwin should not affect Reebok's relationship with Arnell, a spokesman said.

Reebok spent $42.5 million in measured media through October 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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