University of Southern California

Robert Greenberg Named Lloyd Greif Center Entrepreneur of the Year
The founder & CEO of Skechers USA says successful entrepreneurs ‘never stop.’
November 21, 2011 • by News at Marshall

Robert Greenberg, founder and CEO of Skechers USA Inc., was honored on Nov. 3 by the USC Marshall Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies as Entrepreneur of the Year for his considerable success as a serial entrepreneur, thanks to his business savvy, creativity, vision and drive.

Greenberg has been an innovator in the footwear industry for more than 30 years. His Skechers is now a publicly traded, $2 billion global footwear empire and is currently the No. 2 ranked footwear company in America. Greenberg has been the CEO of Skechers since inception in 1992. From 1983 to 1992, he served as the chairman of the board and president of L.A. Gear Inc., which he founded in 1983 and took public in 1986.

Greenberg engaged the audience with specific accounts of how he began and exited each of his many entrepreneurial ventures. “As an entrepreneur, you have to know when to get on and when to get off,” he emphasized.

“You have to go from failure to failure and retain your enthusiasm,” Greenberg told the crowd. “Never stop, persist with your endeavors—if you do not quit, you are going to make it.” His advice for overcoming the inevitable obstacles to business success? “If there’s a wall in your way, race right up to it—there will always be a left or right turn you can make when you get close to hitting it.”

What seemed to resonate most with the attendees was Greenberg’s encouragement to just go out and do it: “When you’re on the shore, looking to ford a stream and you see a big gap in the stepping stones across, just start crossing—by the time you reach the fourth stone, you’ll see the fifth rock lying just beneath the surface that wasn’t visible from the shore but will enable you to span the chasm to the sixth stone.”

Past Lloyd Greif Center Entrepreneur of the Year recipients have included: Sky Dayton, founder of Earthlink Network Inc., Bernard Goldhirsh, founder of Inc. Magazine, Merv Griffin, founder of Merv Griffin Enterprises, Armand Hammer, founder of Occidental Petroleum Corp., Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar, Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s and Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Corporation.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.