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SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40
Published March 8, 2010
Todd Krinsky is the only Forty Under 40 winner who started in the mailroom of the company where he’s still employed. The funny thing is, Krinsky had to work his way into THAT job.
Fresh out of college in the early ’90s, Krinsky arrived at Reebok with a longing. After high school and college years spent listening to hip-hop, playing hoops, selling at Foot Locker, and “spending every dime on sneaks,” Krinsky figured he was a natural. After all, he had 65 pairs of sneakers in his closet. But he flunked the typing test and left Reebok thinking he’d never work there.
Two weeks later, Krinsky had a part-time gig, folding T-shirts. He “parlayed” that into a year in the mailroom. When you deliver mail, you know everybody. One of them, Glenn Bennett (now head of global operations for Adidas), hired him out of the mailroom.
Krinsky wanted to be a marketer, but he knew it was important to learn about product first. He did just that, eventually working at a Reebok R&D manufacturing center in Korea. Soon enough, he was back in the U.S. signing stars like Allen Iverson and forging the convergence of athletes and music that became the Rbk brand. To complement AI, Krinsky signed rappers like Jay-Z. “No one thought we’d sign him,” Krinsky recalled, “and his first shoe is still our fastest seller.”
If there is any continuity in Reebok’s marketing department, Krinsky may be it. CMOs have come and gone at Reebok like cars on the nearby Mass Pike during Krinsky’s 17 years, but now the company seems settled on a positioning.
“If Nike and Adi are about on-field sport, we are more about fitness and training,” Krinsky explained. “It’s still about top athletes, but more on how they prepare and get better. It feels good. It feels like the place we should be.”
Now that he has 120 pairs of kicks in his closet, 20-somethings are starting to ask Krinsky about breaking into sports. His answer is deceptively simple: “Love what you do and remember what everyone told me — product is king.”