Academy Sports and Outdoors, a Texas-based sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer, announced several changes at the leadership level.
Ken Hicks, chairman, president and chief executive officer, will become executive chairman of the board of directors.
Hicks has served as Academy’s chairman, president, and CEO since May 2018 and on its board since May 2017. Prior to joining Academy, he held senior positions at Foot Locker, J.C. Penney, and Payless ShoeSource, among others.
Under his leadership, Academy opened 28 new stores, grew net sales from $4.8 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion in 2022, developed its e-commerce business, improved its gross margin rate from 28.6% in 2018 to 34.6% in 2022, grew net income from $58.5 million in 2018 to $628 million in 2022, and grew diluted earnings per share from $3.79 in 2020 to $7.49 in 2022.
Academy also achieved several other important milestones during Hicks’s tenure, including an initial public offering in October 2020 that raised $270 million, a debt refinancing in November 2020, and the company being named into the Fortune 500 in 2021.
“I would like to thank our 22,000 great team members, who have been focused on building our company while serving our customers and providing fun for all, and our board of directors for their unwavering support,” Hicks said in a release.
“I look forward to continuing my leadership role on the board and working with Steve to ensure a seamless transition and the successful execution of Academy’s new, long-range plan.”
Steve Lawrence, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, will become CEO and a member of the board of directors. Lawrence will serve as CMO until a successor is appointed. Lawrence joined Academy in February 2019.
Michael Mullican, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will become president and take on additional responsibilities, including strategic planning, logistics and supply chain, and compliance. Mullican has served as EVP and CFO since January 2018.
He’ll continue to handle his other duties, which include financial planning and analysis, accounting, and investor relations. Mullican will serve as CFO until a successor is appointed.
Sam Johnson, executive vice president of retail operations, will take on additional responsibilities for the real estate, construction, and store design functions.
Originally founded in 1938 as a family business in Texas, Academy has 269 stores in 18 states.
Earlier this month, Academy opened a new store in Lafayette, Indiana, its first in 2023 and fourth in the state. According to a release, the company plans to open 13-15 new stores this year and a total of 120-140 new stores by the end of 2027.