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Academy Announces New President as Mullican Departs Company After Recent Promotion

Featured , Corporate • October 23, 2023

KATY, TEXAS (October 23, 2023) – Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc. announced that Sam J. Johnson, Executive Vice President (EVP) of Retail Operations, will become President, succeeding Michael P. Mullican, who recently informed the company that he is stepping down to pursue other personal and professional opportunities. Johnson took over as president, effective October 23.

In his new role, Johnson will continue to report to Steve Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer, and his responsibilities will include continued oversight of retail operations and real estate & construction, as well as new responsibility for logistics & supply chain. Mullican will serve the company in an advisory capacity through a brief transition period beginning today. Mullican took over as President June 1 after the retirement of Ken Hicks.

Johnson has served as EVP of Retail Operations and a key member of the executive leadership team since joining Academy in April 2017. He led the transformation of Academy’s store operations to sector-leading store productivity and profitability, while also achieving record customer satisfaction scores. Johnson was also instrumental in helping create a more exciting shopping experience by hiring “enthusiasts” to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions, while also investing in technology and processes that helped improve operations and drive greater productivity.

During his tenure at Academy, he has developed a strong partnership with the company’s logistics & supply chain organization, positioning him well to take on this added responsibility. Prior to joining the company, Johnson spent seven years with hhgregg, Inc., where he most recently served as Chief Retail Officer and led various functions including store operations, customer relations, commercial sales, real estate and visual merchandising. Prior to hhgregg, Inc., he spent more than 20 years in various leadership roles with Sears Holdings Corporation, including Vice President of Small Stores.

In connection with Johnson’s promotion to President, Eric Friederich has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, succeeding Johnson as the head of store operations. Friederich has been with Academy since November 2016, most recently as Regional Vice President of East Region Stores and previously as Senior Director of Communication and Merchandise Execution and as a District Manager. He has more than 25 years of retail business experience and previously held leadership positions at JCPenney and Target.

Lawrence stated, “I am pleased to congratulate Sam and Eric on their well-deserved promotions. Sam is a trusted and integral partner to our leadership team. I am confident that his deep retail experience, proven leadership and broad knowledge of our business make him very well-suited to help lead us through our current long-range strategy. Eric also brings a strong wealth of store operations experience and exceptional leadership that we will leverage to continue driving store growth and productivity.”

Johnson stated, “I am honored to take on my new role as Academy’s next President. I look forward to working closely with Steve, our Board, and the entire Academy team to continue advancing our long-term growth strategy through new store openings and the increased productivity of existing stores and distribution centers, while providing fun for all our customers.”                                              

Lawrence said, “I also want to thank Michael for his service and leadership to Academy and all his contributions to our success, including helping lead the company through remarkable growth, an initial public offering and a debt refinancing. All of us wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Mullican had served Academy as an EVP and CFO since January 2018 before his promotion to President.

“It has been an exciting and rewarding journey at Academy,” Mullican said. “I have genuinely enjoyed my time here and am grateful for the experience and opportunities Academy has provided me. I want to thank all the amazing people across Academy for their support and contributions through the years. I am very proud of the many accomplishments we’ve achieved together.”

Academy Sports is a member of the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).


Sam J. Johnson Academy Sports and Outdoors Ken Hicks Steve Lawrence Michael Mullican Sporting Goods