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AFTCO appointment ushers in ‘new era’ of product focus

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Bill Shedd (left), the CEO of AFTCO, welcomes Robby Gant to the company.

Robby Gant has parted company with Shimano American Corporation after 15 years to join tackle and clothing manufacturer, AFTCO as Tackle Brand Manager.

The appointment, says AFTCO, signals a ‘new era’ of product focus for the Californian company.

Gant will oversee all new product development, sales and tackle operations for the 61-year-old business after a recent expansion into consumer hard goods.

AFTCO CEO, Bill Shedd, first revealed the appointment of Gant in an interview in the last issue Angling International. Although his company is synonymous with apparel, he emphasised the ‘critical importance’ of maintaining a strong position in fishing tackle. 

AFTCO was established as a saltwater tackle manufacturer in 1958 and Shedd explained that a refreshed focus on the saltwater tackle division and – eventually – building a freshwater tackle business are among the company’s biggest opportunities.

Gant spent eight years as a sales rep for the SPA Group before joining Shimano as West Coast Regional Sales Manager in 2004, going on to become Senior Sales Manager and Senior Product Manager.

“Robby has been directly responsible for some of the fishing industry’s most notable products,” said AFTCO President, Casey Shedd. “His product development skill set will enable us to meet the demands of serious saltwater and freshwater anglers alike.”

Gant’s appointment has much to do with the values he shares with AFTCO, according to Bill Shedd. “Today it all seems to be about private equity acquiring a suite of brands,” he said. “They pump money into marketing with little long-term product consideration and ultimately flip the brands for someone else to do the same.

“That’s not us. Moreover, I firmly believe the market isn’t calling for more cheaply sourced product with a manufacturer’s logo slapped on it. Robby is aligned with that vision and a whole lot more.”

Filed In: Product News