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Lisa Thompson as President of Icebreaker US Operations
18
Jun '10
Icebreaker announced that Lisa Thompson, a Kiwi and one of its longest-tenured employees, has been promoted to president of Icebreaker United States operations, effective immediately. The company is on the move in the US, as it plans to open its first store in New York City this fall, and having been recently featured in Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

Thompson became vice president of sales for the US in January 2010, moving with her family from Christchurch to Portland, Oregon. Three weeks into her new position, the former US president, Russ Hopcus, announced his departure.

“Lisa knows Icebreaker better than almost anyone, and she's one of the reasons the company has been so successful this past decade,” said Tony Balfour, general manager for global markets. “We are excited to see where she takes the US market.”

“I'm super excited about the opportunities here – the potential is endless,” said Thompson. “We have a number of brilliant and fun partnerships taking shape in the outdoor specialty business and I know we can surprise them with great results. The upcoming launch of our GT Run and Bike collections to retailers this month will further enhance our reach next spring/summer with sports enthusiasts looking for fantastic, natural performance apparel.”

Thompson has risen steadily through the Icebreaker ranks since starting with the company in 1999, a few months before her 21st birthday, as receptionist and office manager. She was general manager of Icebreaker's New Zealand market for six years, and also worked as Australian market and account manager.

Replacing Thompson as US sales manager is Justin Watkins. Watkins has been with Icebreaker since 2004, when he joined as regional account manager in New Zealand. He moved to US as brand ambassador in 2005. In 2007 Watkins moved to Portland, Oregon and, as retail operations manager, opened Icebreaker's first Touch_Lab retail store. In 2008 he became key account manager

“Justin landed in the US way back in August 2005, the hot Kiwi boy with the cute accent, destined to wind up the US retailers with his unique New Zealand style,” said Thompson. “He has a deep understanding of the market here, where we have been and what we need to do to achieve results. He has developed meaningful relationships with our retailers and the sales team and I am stoked to have him on the leadership team.”

Icebreaker also named Deb Boswell to the new role of general manager – run reporting to Balfour. “Run is our first entry into the potentially massive general sports categories and early signs are encouraging – giving us the confidence to establish this leadership role to accelerate our success. In many ways Deb has been the unofficial GM of running in the States for the last 18 months and has driven our early success with the likes of key running accounts like Fleet Feet.”

Boswell was formerly director of marketing for Icebreaker North America. A Kiwi and an avid runner, Boswell founded her own marketing agency in New York City in 2002. Icebreaker launched its first GT running apparel line last month for its spring/summer 2011 season.

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