Home Back Issues August 2007 VIP: Kirk Richardson, CEO Keen Footwear

VIP: Kirk Richardson, CEO Keen Footwear

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2007
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

Video: Kickstarting Oregon business

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
02.04.14 Thumbnail VideoBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Watch this OB Original Video about three Oregon companies and how crowd-funding "kickstarted" their business ideas.


Read more...

Green your workplace

News
Thursday, April 03, 2014
100Green14logo200oxBY OB STAFF

Learn how to green your workplace and lower your environmental footprint at the office. Oregon Business presents a two-hour "Greening Your Workplace" seminar on May 28th, 2014 at the Nines Hotel in Portland.


Read more...

100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Monday, March 03, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 11.26.47 AM

Check out interviews with employees from some of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon winners and find out what makes their company a great place to work.


Read more...

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Large Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Tech makes the world go round

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, March 20, 2014
03.20.14 thumb internetBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

I don’t think anyone can (or should) remember what it was like to get things done without the internet. This milestone in technology has certainly benefited brick-and-mortar companies and subsequently launched a new era of businesses.


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