New Era Cap Company
Chris Koch was appointed to the UB Council by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March 2013. Since 2002, Mr. Koch has served as chief executive officer of the New Era. He is the fourth generation leader of this family-owned company that has a history in Western New York spanning over 90 years.
Mr. Koch began his career with New Era more than 35 years ago, learning all aspects of the family business and working his way through nearly every department while simultaneously attending college at night. Mr. Koch's leadership and drive for success became apparent when the company saw an annual growth rate of 20% under his direction as Vice President of Sales in the early 1990’s.
Over the past decade, Mr. Koch has focused his efforts on positioning New Era as a global lifestyle brand. Under his leadership as CEO, the company has progressed significantly, seeing strong growth in key international markets including Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific nations. He has overseen the acquisition of major apparel companies and lifestyle brands in North and South America as part of a strategy to diversify the business beyond headwear. Most recently, under Mr. Koch's leadership, New Era secured a long term licensing deal with the National Football League, giving the company exclusive distribution rights and branding for all on-field, sideline and locker room caps, as well as co-exclusive rights for fan headwear worldwide.
Currently, Mr. Koch is leading New Era to expand beyond its core competencies into other areas including licensing, apparel, accessories and direct-to-consumer initiatives, with the overarching goal of doubling New Era’s revenue during this decade.
Among Mr. Koch's numerous awards include being named the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation’s Man of the Year, as well as being identified by Sports Business Journal as one of the Top 20 People to Watch in Major League Baseball. Mr. Koch was recently named the 2013 Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year.
Locally, Mr. Koch serves on the board for the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York, which is dedicated to overcoming racism, bias, and discrimination, as well as the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, which focuses on fostering a better quality of life in Buffalo. He and his wife, Lindsey, are very active and visible champions for Special Olympics within the region and across New York State, having served as honorary chairs of the statwide games in 2012 and 2013. The Koch’s are also avid supporters of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and are passionate about finding a cure for cancer. At the national level, Mr. Koch sits on the board of the Jackie Robinson Foundation whose mission is to continue the memory of Jackie Robinson through the advancement of higher education among underserved populations.
Mr. Koch, his wife, and their four children are residents of the greater Buffalo area.