NRF names Levi Strauss president as "visionary"

September 30, 2018 - United States Of America

The National Retail Federation will honour Levi Strauss & Co president and CEO Chip Bergh with “The Visionary” award, given each year to an outstanding leader in the retail industry. The award will be presented at the NRF Foundation Gala on January 13, 2019. The award is presented to a retail executive with a track record of bringing change in the industry.

The Visionary is presented to a retail executive with a proven track record of orchestrating change in the industry. Earlier this year, prominent retail executives were asked to identify an individual who has changed and continues to transform the retail landscape in a positive way. Bergh was selected due to the momentous turnaround Levi Strauss & Co has experienced under his leadership. In addition, his commitment to strategically seizing opportunities for growth, pushing the envelope on sustainability and championing innovation has been instrumental in returning Levi’s to its iconic glory.

“Retail has been and remains one of the most dynamic industries in the world. To succeed, retail leaders must have passion, commitment, vision and an understanding of how this business impacts the diversity of their customers in communities large and small,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Chip is one of those exceptional leaders who brings everything together seamlessly and succeeds by growing his business with the latest technologies. Throughout, Chip has stayed true to the culture, keeping a firm grip on the pulse of his customers but constantly seeking out new and better ways to meet the demands of next generation Levi loyalists, and pioneering with a sense of servant leadership that inspires his employees, his customers and other business leaders.”

Former recipients of The Visionary award include Nike chairman, president and CEO Mark Parker and Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon.

Bergh will also be a keynote speaker at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show where he will address over 37,000 retailers from nearly 100 countries as they gather in New York in January to address the latest trends, innovations and strategies for transformation at the National Retail Federation’s 108th annual convention.

“Returning an iconic American company back to growth and the centre of culture is only possible when you have a team with shared vision and values,” Bergh said. “We believe that the role business plays in the world today is far greater than just delivering a profit – it’s about taking responsibility for tackling the important societal issues of our time and having the courage to take a stand. I’m incredibly proud of the work this team has done to set a higher bar for others to follow.”

Bergh, who serves on Levi Strauss & Co’s board of directors, joined the company as president and CEO in 2011 and is responsible for a nearly $5 billion enterprise that operates in more than 110 countries with more than 2,900 retail stores and global distribution of its Levi’s, Dockers, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co and Denizen brands.

Prior to LS&Co, Bergh worked at Proctor & Gamble for 28 years in a series of leadership positions with a focus on brand management, ultimately becoming group president of global male grooming brands. Among other duties he ran the Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter brands, was in charge of the integration of Gillette after its acquisition in 2005 and oversaw the launch of Swiffer and the remarketing of Old Spice. Before that, he ran P&G’s international business in India, Southeast Asia and Australia.

The 2018 NRF Foundation Gala raised $2.8 million to fund its work demonstrating retail as an industry of opportunity and providing resources to prepare people for retail jobs that lead to promising careers. (SV)