Academy Promotes 2 Executives to President & SVP, Retail Operations

by Katie Lee

Katy, Texas — Effective Oct. 23, 2023, Sam J. Johnson, executive vice president of retail operations, has been promoted to president of Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc., succeeding Michael P. Mullican, who is stepping down to pursue other personal and professional opportunities. Johnson will continue to report to CEO Steve Lawrence, 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.

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, while also investing in technology and processes that helped improve operations and drive greater productivity. Prior to Academy, Johnson spent 7 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, 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.

“I am pleased to congratulate Sam and Eric on their well-deserved promotions,” says Lawrence. “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.”

Academy is a leading full-line sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer in the U.S. Originally founded in 1938 as a family business in Texas, Academy has grown to 275 stores across 18 states. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Academy Sports + Outdoors

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