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Rawlings names Michael Zlaket as CEO

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As it seeks to grow its football helmet business and international sales, Rawlings Sporting Goods has named a new CEO and president.

Michael Zlaket, 48, a sports equipment industry veteran, took over the top job Tuesday at the Town and Country-based manufacturer of baseball, football and other sporting equipment.

He succeeded Robert Parish, who joined the company as president in 2003. Parish left the company to pursue other opportunities, Rawlings said in a statement.

Zlaket, who was not available for an interview Thursday, worked at sports equipment manufacturer Easton-Bell Sports Inc. for 20 years, rising to president in 2013. He left the company in May 2014, the same year Easton-Bell sold its Easton-branded baseball and softball business to Bauer Sports and changed its name to BRG Sports.

Rawlings is a subsidiary of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Jarden Corp., which has $8.3 billion in annual revenue and a diverse portfolio of more than 120 brands, including Coleman coolers, Yankee Candles and Bicycle playing cards.

Jarden CEO James Lillie noted Zlaket’s background overseeing product innovation and product technology in announcing his appointment Thursday.

“His strong and credible retail and industry experience with contacts across amateur and professional sports coupled with a wide range of knowledge in team related and field sports makes Mike a great fit for Jarden and our Team Sports business,” Lillie said in a statement.

Rawlings has made other recent executive changes. In July, Rawlings named former Eaton Aerospace executive Jeff Fiorini as its chief operating officer.

Founded in St. Louis in 1887, Rawlings is the official baseball supplier and official helmet of Major League Baseball. Following its sale to Jarden in 2007, the company has sought to grow internationally by signing multiple foreign sponsorship deals.

Rawlings also has spent the past few years growing its football helmet business, a segment it re-entered in 2010 after a more than 20-year absence. Rawlings was sued in January by rival Riddell, which alleged Rawlings infringed on trademarks it holds for helmets and shoulder pads. That case, filed in federal court, remains pending.

Lisa Brown • 314-340-8127

@lisabrownstl on Twitter

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