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Rick Helfenbein to step down as AAFA president & CEO

Sep '19
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Rick Helfenbein will step down from his role as President and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) on December 31, 2019. Current executive vice president Stephen Lamar will become the association’s president and CEO on January 1, 2020. As CEO, Helfenbein has served as a vocal advocate for the US apparel and footwear industry.
"Rick has led us through some of the most disruptive periods in recent memory – from the disastrous border adjustment tax to today's trade war with one of our most important trading partners. Throughout this time, he has advised the industry with charm and wit. At the same time, we are very excited to promote Stephen Lamar to the role of president and CEO. Many in the industry and policymaking community have grown to depend on Stephen's expertise on how policies impact the industry. His foresight of potential risks and opportunities is unmatched," said AAFA chairman Gary Simmons.
Lamar has more than 21 years of experience with the association, having served most of this time as executive vice president overseeing lobbying and association activities. During this time, Lamar has achieved dozens of wins on behalf of the membership, including measures to reduce or eliminate tariffs, support US manufacturing, halt burdensome regulations, expand the industry’s corporate social responsibility efforts, and protect intellectual property rights at home and abroad, an AAFA press release said.
"With more than $400 billion in annual US retail sales and an employment footprint of nearly four million Americans, apparel and footwear companies are a major part of the US economy. I look forward to working with our team in Washington, and our members throughout the country, to achieve future wins and ensure that this industry can continue to grow and thrive.” Said Lamar.
Helfenbein has been engaged with the American Apparel & Footwear Association for 14 years – 10 as a member that included two as chairman of the board of directors, and four as president and CEO. During his time as CEO, Helfenbein has served as a vocal advocate for the apparel and footwear industry – creating new opportunities to diversify the supply chain through the expansion of the Generalised System of Preferences programme to include travel goods for the first time, calling out multi-national organisations for intellectual property theft, and sharing the industry's story with the broader public outside of the beltway. He also led a rebranding of the organisation and a revitalisation of the American Image Awards to reflect the industry’s huge and positive impact on the country.
"It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as the leader of the American Apparel & Footwear Association," said Helfenbein. "During my time as a member, I learned the essential work we do in Washington, and around the world. It is with this background that I was able to prioritise initiatives and engage with our 1,000-plus brands. I am thrilled that the board has chosen Stephen – whose passion for the industry and understanding of Washington is immeasurable.” (RKS) 

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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November 2019

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