Thu, 24 Oct 2019

They're the chunky, thick-soled throwbacks to the 1990s known as "dad shoes." And they're beloved by millennials, whose fascination with retro footwear has brought Fila back from the dead.

They've also helped Yoon Yoon-soo amass an unlikely fortune. Gene, as he's known in English, is estimated to be worth about $830m (R11.8bn) through his stake in Fila Korea, which acquired the global Fila brand in 2007 in what South Korean media called a shrimp swallowing a whale. Yoon went on to oversee a revival in Fila's fortunes, sending shares of his company surging.

Jenner, Rihanna

Yoon, a late bloomer who graduated from college in his 30s, started at Fila in 1991 as head of the company's South Korea business, earning an annual salary of $1.5m (R21.4m). But he had his sights set on bigger things. In January 2007, he spearheaded a $400m leveraged buyout of the global Fila brand and all its subsidiaries. In 2010, he took the company public in South Korea.

Fila's footwear and apparel sales, excluding Acushnet, saw a 52% increase to 1.2trn won in 2018 from the year before, the company said in a presentation.

Fila now operates in more than 70 countries. The brand is seeing rapid growth in markets such as China, where Fila Korea has a 15% stake in a joint venture with Anta Sports Products Ltd.

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