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New Balance's Rob DeMartini Named Most Playful CEO in Nationwide Search

April 6th 2011

Oakland, CA -

New Balance President & CEO Rob DeMartini has been named the country's Most Playful CEO in a nationwide search for inventive leaders who incorporate play and innovation into the work environment to encourage collaboration and teamwork. The award is sponsored by Playworks, a national nonprofit organization that supports learning and a positive school climate by providing healthy, inclusive play and physical activity.

DeMartini joined New Balance as CEO in 2007, moving to the company from Tyson Foods, where he oversaw all aspects of the company's $6 billion consumer products business. Prior to Tyson's, he was with Procter & Gamble for 18 years.

At New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer still making shoes in the United States, he has a reputation for leading by example. DeMartini is personally involved in the company's commitment to get people moving, and a clear supporter of New Balance's community service initiatives. He is a runner, cyclist, skier and community advocate, and from road races to company bike builds, actively participates in New Balance's events around play, sport, community service and physical activity. He also serves as Vice Chair on Board of Directors for KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds.

"New Balance has a longstanding commitment to getting folks active and playing. Rob DeMartini exemplifies the power of play in the workplace and is personally connected to ensuring that his employees get out and play in their communities," said Playworks' Board Chair Randy Drake, Senior Vice President of Fitness for 24 Hour Fitness and head of the 2011 selection committee. "He genuinely values the role of play and sees it as a tool to keep the organization from becoming too complacent about the quality of their products."

"Playworks is all about providing adult role models who get out and play in their schools and communities," explains Playworks Executive Director, David Rothenberg. "But play has value far beyond the playground. Leaders who bring play into the workplace can create more collaborative and innovative environments that benefit companies, consumers and communities. These are the role models we like to honor."

Playworks Metro Boston has been moving forward through the lead sponsorship of The New Balance Foundation who recently invested $125,000 to support Playworks operation in 27 low-income schools across Boston, Cambridge and Revere. This level of investment demonstrates both organizations shared commitment to play, physical activity and the healthy development of kids. "Playworks offers us an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to schools and children in the Metro Boston area," says Molly Santry, New Balance Charitable Programs Manager. "By supporting this proven program for children to play safely and inclusively, the New Balance Foundation can help create a healthier future for Boston's youth."

In addition to the financial support, as part of the partnership dozens of New Balance associates will be trained and have regular opportunities to volunteer at recess at local Boston public schools.

"New Balance and Playworks share the same commitment to get people active, and we each have proven products and programs that do just that," says Max Fripp, executive director of Playworks Metro Boston. "As someone in the Boston marketplace, I see first hand how New Balance's commitment to play and the overall health of our community make Boston a better city for all people. I'm thrilled to celebrate the great work of New Balance and Mr. DeMartini."

The Most Playful CEO competition drew a record number of nominations this year, with submissions from all over the United States. DeMartini and runners-up for the Most Playful CEO will be recognized at the Playworks' Third Annual Get in the Game gala dinner April 9 in San Francisco.

About Playworks

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that provides safe, healthy, inclusive play and physical activity to schools at recess and throughout the entire school day. Founded in 1996, Playworks is the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools. Playworks currently serves more than 100,000 children in 248 low-income schools in 15 cities throughout the country every school day. By 2012, Playworks will serve more than 600 schools in 27 US cities. For more information, visit www.playworks.org.

About New Balance

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance employs more than 3900 associates around the globe, and in 2010 reported worldwide sales of $1.78 billion. For more information, please visit http://www.newbalance.com.