Mitchell & Ness Appoints Eli Kumekpor Chief Executive Officer

Fanatics-owned athleisure company taps industry veteran to lead business.

License Global

August 30, 2023

3 Min Read
Eli Kumekpor.
Eli Kumekpor.Fanatics

Mitchell & Ness, provider of vintage and lifestyle sports apparel, has announced the appointment of Eli Kumekpor as the organization’s next chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mitchell & Ness is a part of the Fanatics Commerce business. Kumekpor will be based in Irvine, Calif., and report to Joe Bozich, chief executive officer, vertical brands, Fanatics.  

Kumekpor brings over 20 years of strategic brand-building, financial and operational expertise to Mitchell & Ness. He most recently held an executive-level role with Nike, serving as global vice president and general manager, men’s, Jordan Brand. In his role, he led the strategy and execution that accelerated growth for this multibillion-dollar omnichannel business. In addition, Kumekpor served as co-chair of the Nike Black Employee Network and was a member of the Nike Black Community Commitment Taskforce, a select group of executives responsible for leading the organization’s $140 million commitment to black communities.  

“Eli has an incredible background that includes several years leading one of the world’s most progressive, beloved brands,” says Bozich. “He is the perfect leader to take Mitchell & Ness, an iconic lifestyle and culture brand, to the next level, as well as bring an elevated product mindset to everything Fanatics designs and makes. Eli will be focused on combining Mitchell & Ness’ momentum as a leading provider of high-quality vintage and lifestyle sports apparel, with the power of the larger Fanatics platform and network, creating new avenues for significant growth for the brand.”  

Related:Fanatics, DAZN Partner to Deliver Integrated Sports Fan Experience

Fanatics acquired Mitchell & Ness in 2022 alongside a strategic ownership group comprising some of the most prominent names in sports, entertainment and business. Since that time, the brand has added new rights across several leagues, colleges and players associations, including a new league-wide licensing deal with the NHL and an expanded headwear and throwback jersey catalog with MLB.  

“For generations, Mitchell & Ness has sat at an incredibly unique crossroads weaving sports, culture, lifestyle and fashion, and I couldn’t be more excited to be in this position to usher in the next era of such an iconic brand,” says Kumekpor. “I’ve long admired what Mitchell & Ness means to our culture at large, and I look forward to working closely with the team and the broader Fanatics organization to grow our presence and uncover new opportunities to deliver increased value to our fans and partners around the world.”  

Prior to Nike, Kumekpor spent more than a decade in the healthcare industry, with leadership positions at AstraZeneca, Alcon, Life Technologies and Cigna. Kumekpor also spent several years in the strategy and operation practice at Deloitte Consulting specializing in mergers and acquisitions strategy. He is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and received his MBA in finance from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and his BA in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. Kumekpor sits on the Board of Directors of Chicos FAS (NYSE: CHS). Kumekpor replaces Kevin Wulff, former chief executive officer, Mitchell & Ness, who will be retiring Sept. 1.

About the Author(s)

License Global

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