Swartz to leave as VF completes $2.3 billion Timberland buy

by Harry Sheff

Apparel maker VF Corporation has completed its $2.3 billion buyout of outdoor apparel and footwear firm Timberland and revealed a number of management changes, including the departure of Timberland president and CEO Jeffrey Swartz.

The deal, announced back in June, will see Timberland become part of VF’s Outdoor & Action Sports coalition — which includes The North Face and Wrangler — to create a $10 billion apparel and footwear powerhouse.

With over half its revenues coming from international markets, Timberland is already well-positioned as a global brand. But with the additional resources of VF Corp, the aim is to drive the business to new heights in both Europe and Asia.

“This acquisition strengthens VF’s position within the outdoor industry by adding two strong, global, and authentic brands with significant momentum and growth opportunities,” said Eric Wiseman, VF chairman and chief executive officer. “VF is committed to helping the Timberland and Smartwool brands reach their global growth potential, while maintaining each brand’s unique essence.”

With $1.4 billion in sales in 2010, the Timberland acquisition (excluding expenses) is expected to be add $0.45 to VF’s earnings per share in 2011. It is also expected to add about $700 million to VF’s 2011 revenues.

The new leadership structure under VF Corp will see Patrik Frisk promoted to president of Timberland, reporting to Steve Rendle, group president, VF Outdoor & Action Sports Americas. Since 2009 Frisk has been president of VF Outdoor & Action Sports EMEA.

Richard O’Rourke will continue as senior vice president, International, with responsibility for the Timberland brand in the EMEA and Asia and for global distributors. O’Rourke will report to Karl Heinz Salzburger, group president, VF International.

Mark Satkiewcz will continue to lead Smartwool as president of Smartwool Americas, and will also report to Rendle.

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