Levi Strauss & Co. has made a series of leadership moves designed to streamline decision-making and consolidate accountability for core business growth drivers.
“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 & Co.
Levi’s has taken action to create a consolidated product, innovation & supply chain organization led by Liz O’Neill, who has been appointed executive vice president and president. This new organization 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 F.L.X. technology. Formerly LS&Co.’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.
The company has also established a new direct-to-consumer organization led by Marc Rosen, executive vice president and president. Rosen, who previously led LS&Co.’s e-commerce business, will now be responsible for delivering a seamless consumer experience across both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. Rosen is a veteran retailer who was one of Walmart’s most respected business leaders for nearly 15 years.
The expansion of LS&Co.’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 LS&Co. was exclusively a wholesaler. With the consolidation of the company’s brick-and-mortar and e-commerce organizations, Carrie Ask, executive vice president and president, global retail, is leaving LS&Co. to pursue another role.
“Carrie made an indelible impact on LS&Co., 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 also promoted Jen Sey to senior vice president and LS&Co.’s chief marketing officer, to report to Bergh. Sey, a 19-year veteran of the company and most recently chief marketing officer for the Levi’s brand, has spearheaded the brand’s resurgence. Marketing has fueled this growth, and LS&Co. continues to increase investment in this important driver. Sey’s organization now includes research and marketplace insights.
And finally, the company has established a new strategy and analytics organization, 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 organization. He/she will report to Bergh.
“With these shifts, we are creating a ‘designed-for-the-future’ organization – one that is poised to take advantage of innovation and reflect how consumers shop,” Bergh said. “Levi Strauss & Co. has never been stronger, and we expect these actions to accelerate our momentum and position us to win for the long term.”
As Levi’s 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 LS&Co. 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.”