New bear-in-chief for Build-A-Bear Workshop

ST. LOUIS — Build-A-Bear Workshop’s board of directors has appointed Sharon Price John as CEO and chief president bear. She replaces Maxine Clark, who announced earlier this year her plans to retire from her chief executive bear position. 

Clark will remain a member of the board. 

John was formerly president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group, a division of Wolverine Worldwide. She has more than 20 years of experience in positioning children’s brands and businesses for growth at companies including Hasbro, Mattel and Stride Rite. 

At Stride Rite, John built a team and executed a strategy to streamline the business model and retail footprint resulting in the Stride Rite Children’s Group delivering strong wholesale sales growth and industry leading positive comparable store sales while improving profitability.

At Hasbro, she held roles of increasing responsibility during her seven-year tenure, including GM, SVP of the global preschool division in charge of global strategy and marketing for Playskool and Play-Doh and GM, SVP of the U.S. toy division where she managed a variety of iconic brands, including My Little Pony, Nerf and Transformers.

“I am delighted to welcome Sharon John as Build-A-Bear Workshop CEO and chief president bear and believe she is a perfect fit for our company,” said Mary Lou Fiala, non-executive board chair. “Sharon possesses a deep knowledge of the toy industry and the retail landscape and has a proven ability to assess brands and create a strategy that generates sales and profitability growth. I would like to thank Maxine Clark who has been the inspiration and driving force that resulted in Build-A-Bear Workshop becoming a global retail entertainment brand with cumulative revenues exceeding $4 billion since its founding in 1997. Through her vision, Build-A-Bear Workshop has achieved status as a favorite brand known to families, selling more than 120 million stuffed animals worldwide. I look forward to continuing to work with Maxine as a member of our board.”

“I am excited to join Build-A-Bear Workshop. Build-A-Bear Workshop is a strong brand that children of all ages adore and moms trust and I believe a significant opportunity exists to evolve the current strategies to allow the company to achieve sustained profitability and growth. I look forward to building on and expanding the current business plan to enable the company to achieve its objectives,” added John.

“I am proud of all that we have accomplished and honored to have led our organization since our first store opened in the Saint Louis Galleria just 16 years ago,” stated Maxine Clark. “I am also delighted to see the results of our multi-year strategies bear fruit. In the second quarter, which represents our seasonally smallest quarter of the year and typically results in a loss, our comparable store sales have continued strong, putting our year to date comp at positive 10.3% on a consolidated basis through May. I am confident that Sharon has the skills and passion to build upon our strategies that resulted in our strong year-to-date sales performance and position our company for sustained profitable growth.”