Sponsored by Lane Powell

VIP: Kirk Richardson, CEO Keen Footwear

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, August 01, 2007

ViP

Kirk Richardson, CEO Keen Footwear

KirkRichardson.jpg
Photo by Michael G. Halle.

In khaki shorts, a short-sleeved red shirt and, natch, Keen sandals, there’s nothing monastic about Kirk Richardson’s getup. But there’s something about his close-cropped hair (more monk than military) steady gaze and measured tone that gives off an air of piety.

For example, when talking about the reason that Keen Footwear chose to relocate its headquarters from California to Portland last spring, he launches into a mild-mannered rant about the impact of two men — Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman — and the gravitational pull they had on talented designers that in turn pulled in the likes of Adidas, Merrell and now Keen.

“I’m flabbergasted that people haven’t figured it out yet,” says the intense 54-year-old. “It is completely, undeniably traceable to those two geniuses.”

Of course, Richardson — who stretches as he talks, working out the kinks from a recent 20-hour climb up the steep face of Mount Garfield in Washington — is not without bias on this topic. He spent 27 years at Nike, most recently as general manager of its outdoor division. He confesses that when he answered the call from Keen co-founder Rory Fuerst about taking over the CEO spot when the company moved north, his closet didn’t contain any Keen footwear. Born in 2003, Keen is still a young company, though its signature round-toed shoes and sandals are in hot pursuit of ubiquity.

In Keen, Richardson has found a place that better suits his passion for the outdoors. Richardson talks at length about Keen’s growth prospects in Europe and Asia and the expansion of its brand on bags and socks, but he is most proud of Keen’s generosity when it comes to being a steward of the Earth. Nudged by the acute need exposed in Asia after the tsunami disaster, company officials formed the Keen Foundation in 2004, which has given away $1 million to organizations that, among other good works, preserve land for open space and provide care for refugees.

“They were generous before they were rich and famous,” Richardson says. “That inspires me.”

— Christina Williams


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS