Katy’s Academy Sports has a New CEO

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KATY (Covering Katy News) – The former CEO of Foot Locker, Ken Hicks, has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Katy based Academy Sports + Outdoors. J.K. Symancyk has lead the company since 2015 but is departing to “pursue another opportunity,” according to a company press release.

Hicks is a Houston native and a U.S. Military Academy graduate. He served in the U.S. Army and earned an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School.

“I grew up in Houston with Academy, and I know this company is special because of our mission, values, and people. Our philosophy of making sports and outdoors accessible for all for less is differentiated in today’s retail market, and our focus on our customers will continue to drive our success,” said Hicks. “The Board and I are extremely grateful for J.K.’s leadership, the senior team he’s built, and how he’s helped position the company for future growth.”

“Academy Sports + Outdoors has one of the best teams in retail, and it’s been an honor to serve alongside this team for the past several years,” said Symancyk. “I know I leave Academy in good hands and am confident that the company will continue to put the customer first as we’ve always done.”

Academy is one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S. Its headquarters is on North Mason Road. Academy recently used outsourcing and layoffs to streamline business operations as Dick’s Sporting Goods and online retailers have made the competition more intense in the retail sporting goods space.

Hicks has been a member of the Academy Board of Managers and brings over three decades of senior merchandising, marketing and operational experience in the retail industry.

“During his six-year tenure as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Foot Locker, he helped develop and deliver on a plan that reversed three years of negative same-store sales, generating a significant financial return and shareholder value,” the press release stated.

Prior to Foot Locker, Hicks served in leadership positions at several major retail companies, including J.C. Penney, Payless ShoeSource, Home Shopping Network and May Department Stores.