Industry Moves: Puma Taps Company Veteran for GM of Sportstyle Role, Asics Shakes Up North American Leadership With Several Changes + More

Who’s in, who’s out, who’s been promoted and hired — FN covers all the industry changes in one place. Know of an executive on the move? Tell us web@footwearnews.com.

Oct. 20, 2020: Puma has appointed Maria Valdés to its GM of Sportstyle role, which the German athletic giant said is its largest business unit by revenue. Valdés is a company veteran, having worked for Puma for 10 years, most recently serving as its senior head of product line management for footwear for the sportstyle business unit. She will report directly to CEO Bjørn Gulden. Valdés is replacing Reinhard Dischner, the current GM of Sportstyle, who is leaving Puma at year’s end after more than 18 years with the company.

Oct. 20, 2020: Ralph Lauren Corp. has added Valerie Jarrett to its board of directors, now comprised of 13 members. Jarrett is a senior distinguished fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and media company ATTN, as well as the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir “Finding My Voice.” She was also the longest-serving senior advisor to the Obama administration, plus she served as co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and senior advisor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. “Valerie’s breadth of experience across the public and private sectors and unparalleled expertise in government, law and leadership will bring new perspective as we continue to build the future for our iconic company,” said executive chairman and chief creative officer Ralph Lauren.

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Oct. 16, 2020: Asics announced multiple executive moves today including the appointment of Richard Sullivan to the president and COO roles for its North Americas business. Sullivan, who joined the brand in 2016 as the president of Asics Canada, last served as the Asics North America EVP. Other changes to the Asics North America leadership include Barbara Turner assuming the chief administrative officer role and Sean Condon being named VP of omnichannel. These changes are effective Nov. 1. Also, the current CEO of Asics North America, Koichiro Kodama, will assume a new global role as Asics’ managing executive officer, which will be based in Kobe, Japan. And in January 2021, Naomichi Hatori will become the EVP of strategy for Asics North America.

Richard Sullivan Asics
Richard Sullivan, EVP of Asics North America.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Asics


Oct. 15, 2020: Caleres has tapped Amy Hunter as its VP of diversity, equity and inclusion, effective Oct. 21. As part of her new role, Hunter will help drive the company’s DE&I strategy, including its affirmative action plans, as well as guide efforts surrounding the recruitment of candidates from varied backgrounds. Prior to joining Caleres, Hunter led global D&I as well as corporate groups for Boeing Defense and Space. She also drove D&I strategies at BJC Healthcare’s St. Louis Children’s Hospital and served as the chief diversity officer for the YWCA Metro St. Louis.

Amy Hunter, Caleres
Amy Hunter, VP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Caleres.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Caleres

Oct. 14, 2020: Macy’s has named a new finance chief. The department store announced the appointment of Adrian Mitchell to the post of CFO, effective Nov. 2. Reporting to chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette, he will be responsible for leading all finance functions at the company, including accounting, treasury, investor relations, internal audit, financial and capital planning and analysis, as well as procurement. Mitchell, who is a managing partner at Boston Consulting Group, will replace Felicia Williams, the retailer’s interim CFO. According to Macy’s, Williams, who joined the chain in 2004 and served as finance chief since June 1, will become a Macy’s Inc. fellow at the CEO Action for Racial Equity.

Oct. 14, 2020: VF Corp. has made big changes to its brand leadership team. In a statement, the apparel and footwear company announced that all the heads of its core and emerging brands now report directly to CEO Steve Rendle. Among them are Vans president Doug Palladini; interim president of Timberland and president of the EMEA region Martino Scabbia Guerrini; and Kevin Bailey, president of the Asia-Pacific region and emerging brands. This also includes Steve Murray, now president of The North Face. Murray — previously VF’s president of the Americas — replaces Arne Arens, who stepped down to pursue other roles outside of the retail group. (The role of president of the Americas has been eliminated.)

Oct. 13, 2020: Trade show organizer Informa has announced three key promotions. Kelly Helfman, who oversees the company’s WWDMagic, Project Women’s, Stitch, PoolTradeShow, Micam Americas and Sourcing @ Magic events, has been named commercial president of Informa Markets Fashion. As part of this expanded role, she will now have the additional responsibility for Coterie and the men’s division. Meanwhile, Jason Peskin has been promoted to VP of events and corporate development, where he will manage the commercial side of the men’s division. And Jordan Rudow has been elevated to VP of events, to handle the commercial side of Informa’s trend-focused and mass-market women’s fashion, as well as its footwear division.

Oct. 13, 2020: StockX has hired Leander LeSure as its first-ever global chief people officer, which he will assume effective immediately. LeSure, who has more than 20 years of HR leadership experience and is a U.S. Navy veteran, joins the “stock market of things” after stints with companies including Getty Images and Herman Miller. In his new role, LeSure will be tasked with the company’s human resources organization including training and leadership development, diversity and inclusion, total rewards and talent recruitment functions.

StockX global chief people officer Leander LeSure
StockX global chief people officer Leander LeSure.
CREDIT: Courtesy of StockX

Oct. 9, 2020: Calvin Klein has tapped Jacob Jordan as its global chief merchant and product strategist. Since last May, he had been employed by the brand in a consulting capacity. As part of his new role, Jordan will oversee the company’s merchandising strategy, as well as work closely with the design team under chief product officer Suzanne Barton. He reports to CEO Cheryl Abel-Hodges.

Oct. 9, 2020: Gap Inc. has announced the appointment of Nancy Green as president and CEO of Old Navy. She has served as interim head of the brand since March and was previously its president and creative officer. As part of her new role, Green will report to Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal and serve on the company’s senior leadership team. “Nancy is a visionary leader who brings deep customer empathy to her role every day,” Syngal said. “She has led the brand through one of the most challenging periods in its 26-year history, and the team has delivered strong results through compelling creative and product execution.” Prior to joining Old Navy last year in August, Green served as president and CEO of Athleta, also a Gap Inc. brand.

Oct. 9, 2020: Following its recent privatization, Li & Fung has appointed new leaders: Effective immediately, group president Joseph Phi has been named group CEO, while Spencer Fung is succeeding William Fung as executive chairman. Phi has two decades of experience at the company; he first joined Li & Fung in 1999 and was promoted to the role of group president last year. On the other hand, Spencer Fung — who will oversee all of the company’s businesses in his new post — became CEO in 2014, stepping in as the fourth generation of the Fung family.

Oct. 8, 2020: J.Jill has named a new CEO after dodging bankruptcy last month. The womenswear chain announced the appointment of Claire Spofford to the top post, effective no later than Feb. 15. She will also become a member of the company’s board of directors. Jim Scully will remain as interim executive chief to ensure a smooth transition of the role for the business and for Spofford, who is a veteran retail executive with more than two decades of experience. “As we enter this next phase, we are excited to welcome Claire back to the J.Jill organization,” board chairman Michael Rahamim said in a statement. Spofford most recently served as president of Cornerstone Brands. She also previously held the role of SVP and CMO at J.Jill.

Oct. 7, 2020: Adidas has appointed a new head of human resources after employee complaints over racism at the firm led Karen Parkin, former global head of HR, to exit in June. The Germany-based sportswear giant tapped Amanda Rajkumar to lead the HR department starting next year. The new exec joins the team from French bank BNP Paribas, where she most recently served as HR chief for its Americas division. She also previously worked for JPMorgan for nearly a decade in various senior HR management positions. She started her career in 1993 as a research psychologist.

Amanda Rajkumar, Adidas HR head
Adidas HR chief Amanda Rajkumar.
CREDIT: Raymond Mair/Courtesy of Adidas

Oct. 5, 2020: Puma has tapped stylist June Ambrose as its new creative director. In a post on Instagram, Ambrose — an award-winning costume designer who has styled the likes of Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey — announced the news with the caption, “The cat is out of the bag.” She has also created looks for Jay-Z, who serves as creative director of the brand’s basketball division, Puma Hoops. As part of her new role, Ambrose is tasked with working on the Puma’s women’s and girls’ collections. The first line is expected to release next summer.

Oct. 1, 2020: K-Swiss announced the appointment of Dave Grange today as its VP of sales for the Americas region. In this role, the company said he will be tasked with leading the U.S. wholesale business, specifically finding new opportunities and driving growth. Before K-Swiss, Grange held leadership roles with other industry leaders including a stint as SVP of footwear at Lacoste and the VP of North America for Keds and Pro-Keds.

Dave Grange K-Swiss
Dave Grange, K-Swiss’ VP of sales for the Americas.
CREDIT: Joshua Scott/Courtesy of K-Swiss

Big Moves From Last Month

Sept. 30, 2020: PVH Corp. is moving forward with its planned leadership succession. The Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein parent has announced that president Stefan Larsson will take on the role of CEO, effective Feb. 1. He will succeed Manny Chirico, who has served in the post since 2006 and will continue as chairman of the board of directors. Larsson joined PVH last year in June, where, as president, he oversaw the company’s branded businesses and reported directly to Chirico. “It has been a privilege to work side by side with Manny in recent months, to learn firsthand how he has built PVH into one of the world’s most admired fashion and lifestyle companies,” Larsson said in a statement. “It is an honor to become the leader of this exceptional company, and as we move into a new chapter of growth for PVH, I look forward to continuing its evolution, building on our inherent strengths, getting closer to the consumer than ever before and working with an incredible team.” Previously, Larsson was CEO at Ralph Lauren Corp., as well as served in the position of global president of Old Navy, a division of Gap Inc.

Sept. 25, 2020: Patagonia Works has a new CEO: Ryan Gellert. The executive — who had overseen the organization’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since 2014 — now heads the holding company for Patagonia Inc., which offers apparel and equipment, as well as Patagonia Provisions and Patagonia Media. The firm is also parent to Lost Arrow Solutions (material innovation), Fletcher Chouinard Designs Inc. (surfboards), Tin Shed Ventures LLC (investments) and Worn Wear Inc. (used and upcycled apparel). In addition to the appointment, Patagonia’s board of directors also made two big changes within the company’s leadership team: Jenna Johnson, who previously led the firm’s technical outdoor business, will serve as head of Patagonia Inc., where she will oversee the brand’s apparel and equipment division. On the other hand, Lisa Williams, who joined Patagonia’s product team in 2001, will assume a new role as head of innovation, design and merchandising.

Sept. 21, 2020: Lori Spicer Robertson has joined Saks Fifth Avenue as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. With the new appointment, announced in an exclusive by FN’s sister publication WWD, the new exec is tasked with “creating and leading strategic initiatives that foster a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion.” She reports to chief people officer Sarah Garber. According to WWD, Robertson most recently served as chief communications and engagement officer at United Way of the Mid-South, where she led D&I, as well as community and employee engagement, culture-shaping initiatives, plus marketing and communications.

Sept. 15, 2020: Crocs has named a new president. Michelle Poole, who took over the post on Sept. 10, has been tasked with overseeing the brand’s Americas, Asia and Europe-Middle East-Africa regional commercial teams, as well as the product design and management, merchandising and marketing departments. Since April, Poole served as the company’s EVP and chief product and merchandising officer. Prior to that role, she held the positions of SVP plus product and merchandising chief. In addition to those responsibilities, she took over Crocs’ marketing functions in 2017.

Sept. 1, 2020LVMH‘s North America division has appointed Corey Smith to the new role of VP of diversity and inclusion. He previously served in the same title at the Major League Baseball and now reports to Gena Smith, SVP of human resources and head of global executive and creative recruitment at the luxury fashion conglomerate. Prior to the MLB, Smith worked at NBC Universal, Altria Corporate Services and his alma mater, Columbia University.

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