Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Summit Golf Brands Announces New Corporate Initiatives

New Ownership Group Appoints Tom Nolan as Chairman

(SHELTON, CT.) – Summit Golf Brands, which owns the apparel labels Fairway & Greene, EP Pro and Zero Restriction, announced several new initiatives designed to generate new growth opportunities and harness the talent and expertise of proven business leaders.

Thomas J. Nolan, CEO of Prospect Brands, has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Summit Golf Brands. Mr. Nolan has an illustrious career in the golf business, having most recently served as Senior Vice President of Ralph Lauren’s Golf & Tennis divisions, where his responsibilities included sales, marketing, merchandising and distribution. In this capacity, Mr. Nolan led the overall business growth in North America, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. During his three-year tenure at Ralph Lauren, the Golf & Tennis business grew exponentially.

Prior to joining Ralph Lauren, Mr. Nolan served from 2003 to 2009 as the publisher of Golf World Magazine. Under his leadership, Golf World launched important new initiatives, such as golf course rankings, a fiction issue and the website, catapulting the Golf World brand and, leading to important publishing awards. He is also an avid golfer who competes in many of the premier national amateur championships.

Mr. Nolan’s appointment reunites him with Billy Draddy, Creative Director of Summit Golf Brands, who co-partnered to help build Ralph Lauren’s Golf & Tennis divisions. Earlier this year, the Company announced the launch of B. Draddy, an exclusive lifestyle brand targeting the best clubs and those associated with them. In his role as Creative Director, Mr. Draddy is responsible for the full collection of Fairway & Greene, EP Pro and Zero Restriction.

The Company also announced the departure of Christopher Heyn, who resigned as CEO to pursue other opportunities.

“On behalf of the entire Company and Board, I want to thank Chris Heyn for his stewardship,” Mr. Nolan stated. "Chris has played a valuable role in positioning the company to move into this next phase, will play an important role in transitioning the leadership of Summit Golf Brands and will remain a shareholder.”

Summit Golf Brands is now primarily owned by an investment partnership led by Warren A. Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc. and The Lessing Company, both of whom have “a rich heritage and tradition in the golf world,” stated Mr. Nolan. “Our new owners and board bring deep knowledge of the golf industry as well as a renewed energy that will help us strengthen our base and accelerate our move deeper into green-grass channel relationships. Every level of this organization is filled with authentic golf folks, those who deeply understand and appreciate the greatest game there is. There is a deep heritage of golf running through the veins of everyone associated with this company, and I believe that makes a big difference.”

“Fairway & Greene, EP Pro and Zero Restriction represent a unique collection of authentic golf apparel brands. We are solely focused on making the best golf apparel on the market. All of our brands have tremendous growth potential globally, and we intend to fully monetize this opportunity,” said Mr. Nolan. “The brands play an important role in the lives of all golfers. We are a company run by golfers and building product for golfers that will enhance and enrich the quality of their lives, both on and off the course.”

Summit Golf Brands also announced several major initiatives have already been launched to expand the footprint in green-grass shops. The Company has formed an advisory board composed of leading golf professionals, which is chaired by Dan Snider of The Alotian Club in Arkansas.

“We are assembling many of the leading lights for the express purpose of sharing their insights on innovative apparel design and fabric composition, and creative new sales and service programs,” stated Mr. Snider. “This will be a pro- active advisory board who will inform us how we can improve every facet of the golf customer experience and whose members will be our eyes and ears in the marketplace, and hopefully brand ambassadors.”

Mr. Snider noted that already 18 golf club professionals have signed on.

The Company also noted that Summit Golf Brands’ Fairway & Greene, EP Pro and Zero Restriction apparel labels have an established history of tournament co-sponsorship programs with leading golf resorts.

“We are seeking new opportunities to extend these program relationships,” stated Mr. Nolan.

Summit’s board is now comprised of Curt Bradbury, COO of Stephens Inc., a leading privately-held financial services firm; Stephen M. Lessing, Managing Director of Barclays; Tom Nolan, CEO of Prospect Brands; Paul Lowenstein, Chairman of Northbridge Equity Partners, Inc., a Canadian private equity firm; Brad Faxon, PGA and Champions Tour player; Stephen M. Lessing Jr., Managing Director of Aqueduct Capital Group; and Jackson Farrow Jr., Managing Director of Stephens Capital Partners LLC, an affiliate of Stephens Inc.

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