Gene McCarthy, Founder and CEO of Top League Advisory

Gene McCarthy on How I Hire podcast

Gene McCarthy is a distinguished leader, changemaker, and brand disruptor. He’s essentially the godfather of footwear, having held President and SVP level roles at iconic brands like ASICS, Under Armour, Reebok, Timberland, and Merrell. Gene spent the first 21 years of his career at Nike in various capacities, including Global Director of Sales and Retail Marketing for the Jordan brand. In this episode, Gene shares his seasoned perspective on hiring as well as some great stories from his remarkable career.

Listen to the podcast


  • Nike’s EKIN program fed the brand’s leadership talent (5:35)
  • How leading footwear brands approach hiring (7:18)
  • The key difference between a company and a brand (10:15)
  • The two questions Gene asks to understand team capabilities (11:52)
  • How one hire can stimulate an entire organization (12:51)
  • Why Gene looked outside of the industry for talent (14:58)
  • What he looks for in leaders (16:30)
  • Why he brought together unconventional teams (17:33)
  • The common mistake hiring managers make (19:12)
  • His approach to interviews (20:55))
  • Advice for people who want to get a job in the athletic industry (22:41)

Visit for transcripts and more on this episode.