The Chip Brewer era at Callaway Golf technically was announced in February, but the company's president and CEO may have really announced his presence in the last few weeks.
GolfDigest.com has learned that Brewer recently has hired a former senior level employee at rival TaylorMade-adidas Golf to join him at Callaway. Harry Arnett, vice president of brand and marketing for the Adidas golf and Ashworth brands has accepted a position as senior vice president of global marketing at Callaway. Arnett joined TaylorMade-adidas Golf in 2007 and later served as a brand director and then global vice president of product marketing for clubs and balls at TaylorMade starting in 2008. According to a TaylorMade spokesperson, Arnett resigned from TaylorMade-adidas Golf on May 30. He is expected to start at Callaway later this month.
GolfDigest.com also has learned that several upper-level management changes have been made at the company in the last few weeks. Steve McCracken, senior executive vice president and chief legal officer, and Jeff Colton, senior vice president of global brand and product, are now no longer with the company. McCracken and Colton had been with the company since 1994. Colton's position was eliminated after Brewer restructured the company so global directors of Callaway product categories in clubs (Luke Williams), Odyssey putters (Chris Koske) and golf balls (Steve Ogg) would report directly to him. Previously, those posts reported to Colton.
Tim Buckman, Callaway vice president of global communications, confirmed the restructuring.
The decisions seem to reflect Brewer's and Callaway's stated mission to improve efficiency and the company's focus. In previous months, Callaway settled its long-running litigation with Acushnet over golf ball patents, sold off the Ben Hogan and Top-Flite brands and restructured the North America apparel license with Perry Ellis International.
In the company's first quarter earnings call in late April, Brewer said, "While the actions we have taken recently to reduce costs and provide renewed focus on the Company's core brands were important initiatives, there is more work to be done to maximize the Company's full potential. During my brief time here, we have already made changes aimed at strengthening our business and increasing our long-term competitiveness and we will continue to do so. With a renewed focus on our core business, strong Callaway Golf and Odyssey brands, industry leading research and development capabilities, and an outstanding group of employees, we believe we have all the components necessary to drive sustainable long term growth and increase shareholder value."
Callaway (ELY) shares closed at $5.50 on Wednesday, a little over a 2 percent gain. Its 52-week high is $7.29 The company will announce second quarter sales figures July 24.
--Mike Stachura**Follow me on Twitter @MikeStachura