Former Deckers CEO Angel Martinez Enters Santa Barbara Mayor’s Race

Former Deckers Brands CEO Angel Martinez announced this week that he is joining the Santa Barbara mayor’s race.

Martinez was CEO of Deckers from 2005 until his resignation in May 2016, and remains chairman of the board of directors.

He also serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and AHA!

“The city of Santa Barbara is at a tipping point,” Martinez said in a statement. 

“We are at a moment in time when vision and leadership are essential for us to create the city that, by all rights, should be the best small city in America.”

He was not available for comment Tuesday. 

Santa Barbara Councilwoman Cathy MurilloCouncilman Frank Hotchkiss, and former councilman and mayor Hal Conklin have announced their intention to run for the mayor's seat in November. 

Three council seats are also on the ballot, in what will be the city's second district election.  
Martinez’s news release announcing his intention to run included the following:

With a passion for advancing the community forward and nurturing opportunities that benefit everyone, Martinez’s campaign envisions a healthy local economy that achieves balance between a robust and sustainable business environment and the environmental stewardship essential to protecting the natural beauty of the region for generations to come.

When asked why he is running, Martinez stated, “I have learned that without collaboration around a shared vision, the collective genius inherent in all organizations cannot flourish. This is the kind of leadership that we need in our local government and the kind that I promise to provide. The extraordinary potential that we all want to see fulfilled for Santa Barbara will require nothing less. But what we must all understand, now more than ever, is that opportunity begins at the local level. The opportunity we nurture locally reaches far beyond our cities and towns.”
“Opportunity is at the core of the success of America. Immigrants, like myself, as well as native sons and daughters have, over the generations, sought opportunities to live a better life for themselves and their families. Insight, hard work and determination, combined with opportunity created cities, products, industries, scientific breakthroughs, and yes, more opportunities for future generations. This is the virtuous cycle that has created the America we have known as the beacon of opportunity for the world.”
Martinez’s announcement has sparked excitement and broad support from local community and business leaders including:

“Communities are vibrant, successful, and strong when there is a resilient partnership with the non-profit community. This is something Angel well understands. Angel’s experience in building a commitment to philanthropy in corporate culture and his local involvement in our non-profit family of organizations would be invaluable assets for the next mayor of Santa Barbara,” said Ron Gallo, CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“I’m very excited for our region that Angel Martinez has decided to throw his hat in the ring for mayor. The chamber is all about ensuring elected officials support business, and there is no question about Angel’s support for the business community. Angel’s presence in this race will surely help highlight many of the economic realities Santa Barbara is facing, and I applaud Angel’s decision to run,” said Ken Oplinger, President/CEO of The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region.

“Angel appreciates the need for environmental stewardship and leadership. Under his guidance Deckers expanded its focus on sustainability and worked to reduce its environmental footprint through conservation, waste reduction and the use of recycled and compostable materials in many of its shoes. His grasp of these issues will be instrumental in the City of Santa Barbara if we are to continue to be an environmental leader,” stated Steve Gaines, Dean of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“We need an experienced leader and innovative problem-solver who is prepared and equipped to navigate the current and future challenges of our city. Angel is a visionary with creative ideas and a talented collaborator. He has the track record as a successful and popular CEO to prove that he can and will improve our city’s governance. I’m confident his expertise will benefit Santa Barbara for generations to come, and enthusiastically endorse his campaign for mayor,” stated Lynda Weinman, founder of

“At AHA! we provide programs for local teens to become better connected to their communities. Angel’s commitment to our community and his participation on our board and in our programs has provided opportunities for countless youth. His understanding of the needs of the community in this regard is commendable,” said Jennifer Freed and Rendy Freedman, Co-Executive Directors, AHA!

With more than three decades of global brand-building experience, Martinez is an innovative product and marketing leader that has excelled at recognizing and shaping future trends. His extensive list of roles includes his most recent position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Deckers Brands, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Reebok International, Ltd., President and CEO of The Rockport Company and partner and President of Keen Footwear which he helped launch in 2003. 

Throughout his career Martinez has been recognized for his accomplishments and has been awarded 1997 Man of the Year by Footwear News magazine for his work turning around the Rockport brand, 2008 person of the year by Footwear News and Footwear Plus magazine for his work with Deckers Brands, 2011 recipient of the Footwear Industry Icon Award and he lead Deckers Brands to its position as Outside Magazine’s Best Places To Work multiple times from 2008-2014.

Taking his passion beyond his office, Martinez was a founding member of the Board of Advisors for the Reebok Human Rights Awards and was executive producer of the Human Rights Now! Tour in 1988 working with Amnesty International. He serves on the boards of Deckers Brands, Tupperware Brands, The Santa Barbara Foundation, The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, AHA!, and the United Boys and Girls Clubs Advisory Board. He has also previously served on the board of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Martinez’s passion for giving back lead him to instill this ethic into the corporate culture at Deckers Brands. Through collaboration with employees and the local community Deckers Brands has been able to commit more that $6 million in philanthropic giving since 2005 to hundreds of local charities and worthy non-profit organizations.

A native of Cuba, Martinez immigrated to the United States in 1958. He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, where he was an All-American in cross-country and track. Martinez has been an avid long-distance runner and cyclist since he was 14 years old. A lover of jazz and blues, Angel enjoys playing guitar and jamming with his friends. When he’s not spending his time supporting a variety of local non-profits, Angel and his wife cherish the opportunities they have to travel to destinations steeped in history and architecture. A popular keynote speaker, Angel has been asked to speak before many organizations including local non-profits and educational institutions. 

He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their children.


By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

— Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNewsand @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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