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Levi Strauss makes leadership moves for growth

Sep '18
Courtesy: Levi Strauss
Courtesy: Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss, one of the largest brand-name apparel companies and a leader in jeanswear, has made a series of leadership moves to streamline decision-making and consolidate accountability for core business growth drivers. It has appointed Liz O’Neill as executive vice president and president to create a consolidated product, innovation and supply chain.

“As we adapt to the changing retail environment in pursuit of our long-term goals, the leadership changes we are announcing will accelerate our drive to deliver sustainable, profitable growth around the world,” said Chip Bergh, president and CEO of Levi Strauss.

Levi Strauss has taken action to create a consolidated Product, Innovation and Supply Chain organisation led by Liz O’Neill, who has been appointed executive vice president and president. This new organisation combines the key product functions of design, merchandising, product development and planning into a single team; further integrates supply chain into the consumer journey; and enhances the company’s opportunity to fully leverage emerging innovations like Project FLX technology. Formerly Levi Strauss’s chief supply chain officer, O’Neill brings more than two decades of apparel experience to this newly created role. She will be responsible for the end-to-end view of the product lifecycle, from ideation to what ultimately shows up in stores and online.

Then company is trying to establish a new Direct-to-Consumer organisation led by Marc Rosen, executive vice president and president. Rosen, who previously led Levi Strauss’s ecommerce business, will now be responsible for delivering a seamless consumer experience across both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce. Rosen is a veteran retailer who was one of Walmart’s most respected business leaders for nearly 15 years. Consumers expect brands to connect with them wherever and whenever they choose to shop. The expansion of Levi Strauss’s retail network along with the emergence of digital have increasingly given the company a direct relationship with consumers — one that did not exist when Levi Strauss was exclusively a wholesaler. With the consolidation of Levi Strauss’s brick-and-mortar and ecommerce organisations, Carrie Ask, executive vice president and president, global retail, is leaving Levi Strauss to pursue another role.

“Carrie made an indelible impact on Levi Strauss, accelerating profitable growth through a deep understanding of consumer wants and needs and instilling the rigor of a disciplined retailer. She is an exceptional talent who will continue to shape the future of retail,” Bergh said.

The company has promoted Jen Sey, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, to report to Bergh. Sey, a 19-year veteran of Levi Strauss and most recently chief marketing officer for the Levi’s brand, has spearheaded the Levi’s brand’s resurgence. Marketing has fueled this growth, and Levi Strauss continues to increase investment in this important driver.

Levi Strauss aims to establish a new Strategy and Analytics organisation, elevating the importance of data and analytics and pairing it with strategy to shape the future. This addition reflects the company’s belief that it has an untapped competitive advantage in unleashing the power of data and analytics. The company is currently recruiting for an executive to lead this organisation. He/she will report to Bergh.

“With these shifts, we are creating a ‘designed-for-the-future’ organisation – one that is poised to take advantage of innovation and reflect how consumers shop,” Bergh said. “Levi Strauss has never been stronger, and we expect these actions to accelerate our momentum and position us to win for the long term.”

As Levi Strauss moves to implement these changes, James “JC” Curleigh, president, global brands, announced his plans to leave the company to pursue new opportunities. Over the past six years, Curleigh and his team have returned the Levi’s brand to profitable growth through a strategic focus on building brand energy, driving product innovation and establishing market solutions around the world.

“JC joined Levi Strauss with a mission to re-establish Levi’s as a leading lifestyle brand. Today, our brands are more relevant and we are more connected to popular culture than we’ve been in decades,” Bergh said. “His leadership has been critical to driving our current success, and his unique brand of leadership will no doubt continue to inspire and drive results. I want to thank him for all that he has done for the company. We will miss him.” (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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