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HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with Wolverine Worldwide in their search for a Sr Director of DTC Technology & Innovation based in Grand Rapids, MI. Wolverine Worldwide is one of the most successful companies you didn’t know you knew — and loved. The company is a 130+ year-old manufacturer of footwear that is now the 3rd largest footwear company in the world, only behind Adidas and Nike.

Wolverine’s products are marketed worldwide under household names like Hush Puppies, Keds, Saucony, Sebago, Sperry Top-Sider, and Stride Rite, just to name a few. Its brands are distributed through its own operations in the US, Canada, the UK, and in certain countries in continental Europe. In other regions (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa) the firm relies on an established network of third-party distributors.

The firm operates 350 retail stores in the United States, Canada, and 64 consumer direct websites. Wolverine operates through four business segments: lifestyle group, performance group, heritage group and other.

Since 2004, Wolverine Worldwide has grown at 7% annually, year in / year out.

That includes the great recession, which proves that the firm’s brand model – while complicated – can deliver in any economic environment. On the road to $4 billion in sales, Wolverine Worldwide has identified a number of “white spaces” where it can grow. For example, only 30% of Wolverine Worldwide’s pairs are sold to women – yet women buy a lot more footwear than men. Given Wolverine Worldwide’s ability to execute bolt-on acquisitions of lifestyle brands, the company seeks to adjust its customer and marketing mix, both at home and abroad.

Which is where YOU come in …

Every day Wolverine Worldwide leverages more than 1,000 years of brand equity across 11,000 dedicated points of sale around the world. Obviously, technology plays a critical role in the realization of that vision. In this Director-level role, you will have a significant impact a portfolio of world-class brands, including (but not limited to) …

  • Sperry Top-Sider — which is Wolverine’s nautical performance and lifestyle brand offering footwear, apparel and accessories.
  • Stride Rite — which is famous for its footwear for children under nine years of age. The brand markets across a range of categories through a network of company-owned mall-based specialty retail stores and a consumer-direct website. It also distributes footwear through department stores, independent retailers, sporting goods chains, mall specialty retailers, online retailers and national family footwear stores.
  • Hush Puppies — which offers shoes, sandals and boots for men, women and children.
  • Keds — Wolverine’s casual lifestyle brand offering a range of fashion sneakers and slip-ons for teen girl consumers.
  • Soft Style — which offers women’s dress and casual footwear.
  • Merrell — Wolverine’s brand which consists of technical hiking footwear and lifestyle products for casual outdoor activities for men and women. (These products are sold primarily through outdoor specialty retailers, sporting goods chains, department stores, online retailers and catalog retailers. The Merrell apparel and accessories line consists of outdoor apparel, as well as accessories such as packs, bags and luggage for men and women.)
  • Saucony — A brand that I loved for years as a 20-mile per week runner. Saucony offers five categories of footwear products, including technical, natural motion, race, trail and lifestyle originals, as well as a range of performance running apparel.
  • And more.

About the Role

First, let me say that I have an absolutely staggering amount of information and insight about this particular search. Added together, my kickoff calls with each member of the hiring committee exceeded 150 minutes. Here’s the deal: Wolverine needs an ecommerce technology visionary to take its business to the next level. That’s 14 brands, all running Demandware, yet all needing some platform customization to bring those brands to life across every far-flung customer touch point.

Engaging the customer wherever they want, whichever way they choose.

Throughout the community, one of the things that keeps ecommerce leaders awake at night is their company’s inability to manage technological change as quickly as it occurs. To quote Jack Welch, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

While it’s not in any way accurate to suggest that the end is near for any of Wolverine’s brands, it is fair to say that the right candidate for this role will know how to “work a building” to help Wolverine’s executive team understand how to metabolize change in real time – in ways that are brand accretive and future oriented. You’ll need to be politically savvy without being a political animal.

You’ll be helping EVERYONE understand where technology is going — and what it can do for THEM.

On any given day, you’ll find yourself working with the firm’s Executive, Ecommerce, Marketing, IT teams and more to develop and implement a winning technology strategy for the firm. We’re looking for someone who really understands ecommerce platforms and knows how such platforms integrate with an OMS, an ERP, and how content and product data can all work together to produce an end-to-end ecommerce ecosystem.

If you don’t understand how such systems can be integrated, you’ll be miserable in this role.

This job is all about being in the trenches with dozens of internal and external partners and helping them work together. Wolverine Worldwide’s organization is extremely complex, so it’s essential that you be able to evangelize ecommerce technology in light of each brands’ shifting (and sometimes competing) priorities. You must be able to relate to all types of marketers, developers, IT teams, and development agencies while enabling each brand to achieve its unique objectives.

Can you handle that?

Like I said, I spent a ridiculous amount of time with this client’s hiring committee learning about this search, and I’ve got a boatload of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. Folks, managing a candidacy for this search without this intel would be like bringing a knife to a gunfight. You don’t want to apply without this intel! Simply text [“your name” + Wolverine] to (404) 281-2025.

I look forward to hearing from you!

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile


  • Lead long range planning and strategy for areas related to UX, technology, development, design and consumer focused content
  • Conceive, prioritize and create innovative solutions to meet diverse evolving business needs across multiple websites serving both domestic and international markets
  • Form, staff, guide, lead, and manage an organization capable of accomplish the responsibilities required to meet growing business demands
  • Maintain awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards
  • Contribute at the senior level by working across different strategic and business units in the company; able to set, engage and champion objectives of the DTC organization
  • Evaluate & mentor dynamic internal teams of diverse experts across multiple locations and ensure their successful cross-functional integration through shared goals and unified culture
  • Create, communicate, and implement DTC Technology & Design vision, mission, and overall direction
  • Achieve overall strategic goals as determined by strategic plans
  • Ensure customer experience is consistent with the organizations’ reputation and vision for customer service, convenience, and selection
  • Own multi-million dollar (5 year) eCommerce capital budget and development roadmap to maximize spend and ensure long term sustainable growth across the Brand portfolio and Wolverine’s 3 principal geographic locations – Michigan, Boston & London.
  • Ensure systems and functionality are built for long term growth to work across multiple brands, countries and devices
  • Ensure business processes and systems are designed, developed, and operational, for Omni-channel multi-brand global eCommerce
  • Manage and drive the relationship with enterprise level eCommerce platform partner (Demandware), ensuring that the firm’s business & development needs are aligned. Maintain alignment with integration partners across full technology stack.
  • Lead ongoing web agency and development partner relationships to ensure they understand and meet short and long-term objectives.
  • Ensure that all agency and technology partners understand the firm’s core systems (including Demandware) and that the integrations are designed for optimal performance across the tech stack
  • Identify and champion opportunities to build/leverage online best practices across brand web sites
  • Monitor and ensure maximum global website performance/speed through optimized code and right fit hosting solutions
  • Maximize team efficiencies through the creation of easy to use tools and automated solutions
  • Lead, oversee and enforce website design, functionality and overall user experience standards across multiple global brand sites.
  • Ensure capabilities can be effectively shared across all sites/brands while maintaining support unique business models/requirements such as the Stride Rite loyalty program
  • Partner with IT and communicate business requirements in relation to SAP interfaces, security, and other eCommerce platform related IT functions.
  • Partner with brand teams to ensure shared goals met online and to ensure that the Front End Developers operate within the prescribed platform guidelines to leverage the shared platform
  • Utilize research, analytics and financial metrics to make informed decisions and meet business objectives
  • Create and implement business strategies and processes to ensure timely and proper execution of web production cycle
  • Establish quality control and testing standards to ensure site accuracy for optimal customer experience
  • Work with management and outside vendors to implement new features, systems and functionality, ensuring a compelling customer experience, being accountable for measuring results.
  • Build and grow key relationships with cross-functional team members and internal business partners
  • Build strong business relationships with third-party partners and/or vendors including Wolverine’s strategic partnership with Demandware.
  • Drive effective communication of issues and risks to the client when relevant to the senior clients; build and manage senior client relationships (expectations, communications, escalation, etc.)
  • Perform duties consistent with the Company’s AAP/EEO goals and policies.
  • Perform other duties as required/assigned by manager.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 5+ years of Demandware experience essential
  • 12+ years of eCommerce and DTC web experience
  • 7+ years in a DTC ecommerce environment, preferably within the retail/lifestyle industry
  • Passionate, emotionally intelligent, with enough experience and insight to have convictions they will go to the mat for, for the sake of the greater good
  • Strong ability to deal with ambiguity and be exceptionally adaptable and flexible; can throw and catch a curve ball
  • Working experience building organizational capacity; motivating and challenging team in a way that inspires and promotes excellence.
  • Experience as a versatile leader across multiple roles, with a grasp of the broader business that can critically evaluate areas outside of their own area of expertise
  • Ability to make hard decisions and be accountable for them even when the outcome is negative
  • Strong leadership and management skills, with demonstrated inter-personal skills particularly in managing large, complex initiatives and teams across multiple locations
  • Deep knowledge of SAAS eCommerce platforms and proven experience re-platforming (Preferably with Demandware)
  • Experienced in international eCommerce with knowledge of the end to end process particularly as it pertains to payments, operations & fulfillment
  • Strong experience with UX, UI, design, technology, analytics, and operations
  • Experience defining & measuring key performance indicators, ROI, and designing online customer experiences
  • Demonstrated written, verbal and presentation skills influencing a multi-brand matrix environment
  • Demonstrated understanding of eCommerce best practices and usability
  • Experience leading major strategic initiatives, ideally including technology & design integration
  • Experience in global and multi-branded environments
  • Experience managing internal and external resources
  • Experience in supply chain, fulfillment and call center functions a plus
  • Online marketing experience, a plus
  • Hands on website design and development experience a plus
  • Working knowledge of web analytics tools such as Omniture a plus
  • Experience with W3C and YSlow code standards a plus.
  • Experience with content distribution networks such as Akamai a plus

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Harry for additional information that will differentiate you in your candidacy.

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