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Industry Moves: Church’s Taps Denni Manzatto as New CEO + 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 at web@footwearnews.com.

Jan. 21, 2022: Church’s & Co. has appointment of Denni Manzatto as its new CEO. In his new role, Manzatto will lead the Northampton-based footwear brand towards a new global growth strategy, using his significant professional experience to accelerate the international development and re-branding of the Church’s label. Manzatto joined the Prada Group, which owns Church’s & Co., in 2013, covering various positions in the commercial department. In Sept. 2019, he took on the role of commercial director, responsible for developing the wholesale channel and managing eyewear and fragrances licenses and commercial development projects, a position he will continue to hold on a temporary basis.

Jan. 19, 2022: Adam Michaels has been promoted from SVP and chief digital officer at Crocs to EVP and chief digital officer. The executive joined Crocs in 2013 and has focused on the company’s digital commerce growth, which is an area of focus for the fast-growing footwear brand. Crocs is leaning into its digital business with a goal to have 50% of total revenues be derived from digital channels by the end of 2026.

Adam Michaels Crocs
Adam Michaels, EVP and Chief Digital Officer at Crocs
CREDIT: Crocs

Jan. 19, 2022: Forever 21 has announced Winnie Park will become its new CEO, effective immediately. Park joins Forever 21 from Paper Source, where she served as CEO for the past six years. Prior to Paper Source, Park held executive roles across e-commerce, global marketing, and fashion merchandising including a nine-year tenure at the Hong Kong-based international luxury retail leader, DFS, a division of LVMH. She started her career at McKinsey & Company San Francisco in fashion retail and consumer digital before joining Levi Strauss and Co. to lead women’s merchandising for Dockers. At Forever 21, Park will report into Marc Miller, CEO of SPARC, the group made up of Authentic Brands Group, Brookfield Property Group and Simon Property Group which bought the retailer in 2020.

Forever 21 Names Winnie Park As CEO
Winnie Park.
CREDIT: Forever 21

Jan. 18, 2022: Bally has tapped Rhuigi Villaseñor as its new creative director. Villaseñor will oversee the artistic direction across the brand. His first collection for Bally will debut for the Spring/Summer 2023 season. Born in Manila, Rhuigi Villaseñor, is the founder, CEO, and creative director of the brand Rhude since 2015. He started his career in Los Angeles, and credits his passion for design and his understanding of garment construction to growing up with a mother who was a tailor and father who was an architect. A Filipino and American national, raised in several continents before emigrating to the U.S. at the age of nine, Villaseñor has been recognized as one of today’s most promising fashion talents. With a thriving business that includes ready-to-wear and accessories coveted by celebrities around the world, Villaseñor’s reach extends to a broad and diverse audience, amplified also through his lifestyle partnerships including homeware and automotive. Villaseñor will be based between Los Angeles and Switzerland.

Bally appoints Creative Director Rhuigi Villaseñor
Rhuigi Villaseñor
CREDIT: Courtesy of Bally

Jan. 18, 2022: Ecco Sko A/S has named Tom Berry as president and CEO of Ecco USA, effective immediately. Berry is a seasoned veteran with a long history in consumer goods and footwear. Most recently, Berry served as SVP of global business development at Levi Strauss & Co. He also served as managing director for several of Levi’s subsidiaries and led their global licensed business. Prior to Levi’s, Berry held executive and general management positions with global leaders like The Tecnica Group, Adidas-Salomon, and VF Corporation / The North Face. “Tom is a global strategic leader with a proven track record of brand building and business transformation,” said Panos Mytaros, CEO of Ecco Sko A/S, in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with him to introduce our brand to a new generation of consumers and to take Ecco to new heights in the critical and leading U.S. market.”

Tom Berry Ecco US CEO
Tom Berry
CREDIT: Courtesy of Ecco

Jan. 18, 2022: Nordstrom has tapped Rickie De Sole as its new women’s designer fashion & editorial director. In this newly created role, De Sole will work cross-functionally across different facets of the women’s designer division, bringing a heightened point of view to the merchandising offering to deliver against business goals and growth plans, the department store said. Nordstrom also said that De Sole will develop the women’s designer editorial plan, create engaging designer content, act as a spokesperson, build a heightened customer community and drive results. De Sole joins Nordstrom from Vogue.com where she was the executive fashion director supporting business initiatives and content across digital, print and social platforms as well as editorial collaborations and e-commerce. Prior to Vogue, De Sole was the fashion director at W Magazine, accessories director at Vogue Magazine and worked in-house at Prada.

Jan. 18, 2022: TheDrop.com, a global marketplace serving the $200 billion youth lifestyle market, has named Scott Keating as its new chief merchandising officer. In this newly created role, Keating will lead TheDrop’s global merchandising strategy and manage relationships with the 300+ brands and retail shops who currently sell products through its platform.Keating was formerly at Nike, where he spent 14 years in a range of leadership roles for the footwear giant, most recently as the global sales & brand director for Nike SB. In this role, he was responsible for driving global growth from the U.S. to Europe, China and Japan. Prior to that, Keating led the Nike Snowboarding group where he developed the top snowboarding boot in the market before Nike closed the division.

Scott Keating Joins TheDrop.com from Nike
Scott Keating.
CREDIT: Courtesy of TheDrop

Jan. 17, 2022: Canadian department store The Bay has tapped Alexander Meyer as its new chief customer officer. Meyer will be responsible for the ongoing transformation of The Bay’s integrated marketing, media and customer success strategies, with a focus on high growth, brand and personalization. Reporting directly to Iain Nairn, president and CEO, Meyer will oversee the brand strategy and customer insights, marketing and creative, loyalty, and communications functions for The Bay and Hudson’s Bay businesses. For the past five years Meyer served as chief marketing officer for Australia’s The Iconic, Australia and New Zealand’s largest fashion and sports destination. Prior, he served in senior and C-suite roles at organizations including Adidas International, Vans, Quiksilver Inc., and social content start-up Hubrick.

Alexander Meyer, chief customer officer at The Bay
Alexander Meyer.
CREDIT: Courtesy of HBC

Jan. 17, 2022: Valentino is bolstering its executive team with two new hires. First up, Giuseppe De Mori has been named chief operations and logistics officer, effective immediately. He joins from Bottega Veneta, where he held the role of GM of industrial operations, in charge of the development of the production processes, of the product and of the supply chain. De Mori is now tasked with coordinating the manufacturing of all product categories together with the logistics function at a global level. In He will also be in charge of making Valentino’s industrial footprint efficient through the evolution, improvement and digitization of internal processes, with a focus on sustainability. Alberto Fasanotti will also join Valentino as global CFO starting next month. He was most recently CFO at Chanel U.K. and Region, which comprises Ireland, Canada and Central and South America. At Valentino, Fasanotti will be responsible for leading the finance strategy globally through the transformation of the organization and the digitization of internal processes to optimize business performance, and facilitate strategic decisions. He will also be in charge of areas ranging from accounting, tax and treasury to controlling and purchasing.

Jan. 16, 2022: The National Retail Federation (NRF) announced on Saturday that Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner has been elected chairman of NRF’s board of directors. Furner replaces former Qurate Retail, Inc. president and CEO Mike George, who has served in the role since 2020. Additionally, the trade organization’s nonprofit NRF Foundation named a new chair and added two directors to its board during a virtual meeting on Jan. 14. Macy’s, Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette concluded his term as chair of the NRF Foundation board and Bloomingdale’s chairman and CEO Tony Spring will begin his three-year term as board chair. In addition to the new chair, Macy’s, Inc. SVP of corporate communications Malek Robert “Bobby” Amirshahi and Keith Lipert, president of the Keith Lipert Gallery, have been named to three-year terms on the board.

Walmart US president and CEO John Furner
Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, John Furner.
CREDIT: Walmart

Jan. 15, 2022: Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) has made two more senior leadership appointments. The luxury retail chain has tapped Amanda Martin as SVP, chief supply chain officer and will take over responsibility for all supply chain operations, including NMG’s multi-year supply chain transformation. In addition to this responsibility, Martin will oversee the retailer’s photo studio and customer care divisions. And, Vijay Karthik has been promoted to SVP, chief technology officer and is tasked with driving end-to-end customer facing IT development and architecture. Karthik will lead a number of functions including omnichannel engineering, cloud platforms, operations and reliability, and architecture for the luxury retailer. “We are fortunate to have such strong talent at our company that we are able to develop and promote to lead all of the critical growth work we are executing,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, CEO of NMG, in a statement.

Jan. 13, 2021: Luxury shoe label Sergio Rossi, which was acquired last June by Fosun Fashion Group (now Lanvin Group), has named a new artistic director: Evangelie Smyrniotaki. Starting this month, the Greek model and art director will begin overseeing the Sergio Rossi brand image, including directing marketing campaigns and content creation. She will also present her first capsule collection, Evangelie Smyrniotaki x Sergio Rossi, at the upcoming February 2022 Milan Fashion Week. CEO Riccardo Sciutto said in a statement, “I strongly believe that [Evangelie’s] knowledge on luxury shoes aesthetic and new media will apport a great value to the brand. The communication has changed a lot in these years and Evangelie sums up the new figures that industry needs.”

Evangelie Smyrniotaki Sergio Rossi
Evangelie Smyrniotaki
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sergio Rossi

Jan. 13, 2021: Columbia Sportswear Co. has named Jim Beeman as VP of U.S. sales for the Columbia brand. Beeman will report to Tim Sheerin, SVP of global wholesale for the Columbia brand. “Jim has led multiple teams at Nike and driven significant growth in support of large integrated wholesale partnerships, driven category brand marketing and retail brand marketing, as well as territory-based teams across wholesale, digital and direct,” Sheerin said in a statement.

Jim Beeman VP of U.S. sales Columbia
Jim Beeman, VP of U.S. sales for Columbia.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Columbia

Jan. 13, 2022: ThredUp has added Coretha Rushing to the company’s board of directors. Rushing has previously served in human resources roles at Equifax Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi and IBM. She also founded her own consulting firm, CR Consulting Alliance LLC. At ThredUp, Coretha focus on ThredUp’s employee initiatives related to health and wellness, retention, and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Coretha Rushing ThredUp
Coretha Rushing
CREDIT: ThredUp

Jan. 11, 2022: JCPenney has tapped two executives in e-commerce and omnichannel. Katie Mullen has been named as chief digital and transformation officer. Mullen will lead the growth of the e-commerce business, including Jcp.com, and will also be responsible for driving enterprise strategy and the company’s transformation agenda. Mullen most recently spent nearly three years with Neiman Marcus Group, as chief transformation officer and then chief digital officer. Previously, she was a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group.

JCPenney has also tapped Sharmeelee Bala as its new chief information officer. She will assume responsibility for the information technology (IT) organization and global technology systems that power the company’s stores, operational centers and supply chain, and corporate functions. Bala joins the company from Gap Inc., where she held leadership positions since 2018 and most recently served as the head of product engineering. Bala also spent 20 years with Walmart in a number of technology and executive roles of increasing responsibility.

Jan. 11, 2022: Dunhill has named Laurent Malecaze as its new CEO. Malecaze joins the British menswear brand from AZ Factory which he started with the late Alber Elbaz and led through its development. He was previously CEO of New York-based The Webster, a luxury multi-brand retailer, after several years as strategic consultant at Bain & Company. “Laurent comes with an entrepreneurial spirit and extensive experience in retail,” said Philippe Fortunato, CEO of fashion & accessories maisons at Richemont, Dunhill’s parent company. “At AZ Factory alongside the late Alber Elbaz, he has demonstrated the ability to establish a strong design identity through a digital-first approach. He is the perfect fit to open a new chapter for Dunhill.”

Laurent Malecaze CEO of Dunhill
Laurent Malecaze
CREDIT: Courtesy of Dunhill

Jan. 11, 2022: Nester Hosiery announced it has tapped Chris Bevin to fill its SVP of brands and licenses role.  Bevin brings 30 years of experience in the industry to Nester Hosiery, a manufacturer of performance merino wool socks and the parent company of Farm to Feet. The experience includes more than 15 years spent at Balega, where Bevin served as president from 2009 to 2015. “We are putting considerable resources behind each of our established business channels as we position ourselves for considerable growth in 2022 and beyond,” Nester Hosiery CEO Kelly Neste said in a statement. “Adding Chris to our team is a big step in our strategic growth plan as he brings a wealth of industry and brand building expertise.”

Nester Hosiery SVP of brands and licenses Chris Bevin
Nester Hosiery SVP of brands and licenses Chris Bevin.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nester Hosiery

Jan. 11, 2022: VF Corp. has announced the appointment of Nicole Otto to the global brand president role at The North Face, effective June. Otto will succeed Steve Murray, who is set to retire and return to the UK. Otto will report to chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle, and will also serve on the company’s executive leadership team. Before assuming this role at The North Face, Otto spent 16 years at Nike, most recently serving at the athletic giant’s VP of Nike Direct North America, a position she held from 2018 to May 2021.

Nicole Otto global brand president The North Face
Nicole Otto to become global brand president at The North Face, effective June 2022.
CREDIT: Courtesy of The North Face

Jan. 10, 2022: Mo Vachon is joining Rothy’s as the brand’s first-ever VP of retail. Vachon joins Rothy’s with decades of experience from retailers including Express, Charlotte Russe, and Claire’s and will lead all of Rothy’s retail stores, overseeing retail store operations. The brand said that he will also oversee the continuous development and implementation of operational strategies to evolve the Rothy’s in-store customer experience as the company expands. “We’re thrilled to welcome Mo Vachon as our new VP of Retail at Rothy’s,” Heather Skidmore Howard, COO at Rothy’s, told FN. “Mo brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from a variety of retail brands that will be instrumental in driving the growth of Rothy’s retail stores in his new role.” The move comes on the heels of Rothy’s announcement last fall that it will open six new stores (doubling its retail footprint) through early 2022.

Mo Vachon Joins Rothy's as VP of Retail
Mo Vachon.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Rothy's

Jan. 10, 2022: Steve Madden has named Arian Simone and Peter A. Davis to its board of directors. These appointments expand the board to eleven directors, nine of whom are independent directors. Simone is president and CEO of Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in women of color-led businesses, which she co-founded in 2018. From 2004 to 2017, Simone was the owner of AR PR Marketing, a publicity and marketing strategy firm.

Davis has over 30 years of experience in the footwear and apparel industry, having held executive leadership positions in sales and marketing with companies including Skechers, Fila, Reebok, Joy & Mario, and Dynasty Footwear. He also founded The Infamous Black Sheep Brand, an urban action sports lifestyle brand. A former player in the NBA, today Davis runs Pete Davis Basketball, a grassroots community youth basketball organization.

“The addition of these directors complements our board’s skills and experiences, and with Arian’s marketing expertise and Pete’s deep industry knowledge, we are confident they will provide valuable perspectives,” said Edward Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Steve Madden Ltd. “We look forward to their engagement and assistance in guiding our strategy and enhancing value for all our stakeholders.”

Arian Simone joins Steve Madden Board of Directors
Arian Simone.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Steve Madden

Jan. 6, 2022: Lisa Gurwitch is stepping down as CEO of Delivering Good, a post she has held since January 2015. Prior to joining Delivering Good, Gurwitch was senior vice president for Institutional Advancement and External Relations at World Learning. Gary Simmons will become interim CEO and he and Gurwitch will work closely over the coming weeks. The nonprofit has retained the firm of Berglass + Associates to assist in the search for a permanent president and CEO. Simmons previously served on the board of Delivering Good for more than 20 years, including more than four years as co-chair. He also chaired the board of Kids in Distressed Situations, one of the predecessors to Delivering Good. He was previously CEO of Gerber Childrenswear and chair of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Delivering Good, gala, Ken Downing, Ralph Lauren, Fern Mallis, Michael Bastian, Jessica Wang, fall, charity
Ken Downing, Lisa Gurwitch and Vince Dell’Osa attend Delivering Good’s annual gala.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Delivering Good

Jan. 3, 2022: French luxury fashion house Balmain has tapped Emily V. George to serve in the new role of president, Americas, WWD reported. The move comes as the fashion house plots further growth in the crucial U.S. market. George, who began her new role on Monday, comes off an almost 20-year career at Marc Jacobs International, where she most recently served as the SVP of Americas, retail and wholesale. Balmain has six stores in U.S. and is sold across Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom stores as well.

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