Columbia Sportswear Company has announced a series of senior leadership changes executing on transition plans while supporting the company’s omni-channel programs for growth and unlocking digital opportunities.
The company is aligning its organizational structure globally “to accelerate our business transformation with a focus on e-commerce and digital,” said Tim Boyle, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the group. In this context, Franco Fogliato, executive vice president and general manager for the Americas, will become executive vice president of global omni-channel. In this new role, he will oversee all Columbia brand sales in direct markets globally. As a result, Matthieu Schegg, vice president and general manager for EMEA, and Peter Rauch, senior vice president for Asia Direct, will report directly to Fogliato.
Fogliato moved to the U.S. in 2017 after doing a good job at running the group’s operations in the EMEA region since 2013. Prior to that, he served as general manager of Europe for the Billabong Group from 2004 to 2013. From 1997 through 2003, Fogliato held various European leadership roles with The North Face, ending up as general manager of Western Europe.
In addition to leading all direct markets, Fogliato will facilitate a close partnership among channel leaders to share best practices and support global Columbia brand goals. E-commerce is a growing focus for the company, which has invested significantly to advance its capabilities in this critical channel. To support the Columbia brand’s e-commerce strategies, Patricia Higgins, vice president of e-commerce, will transition to senior vice president, e-commerce, reporting directly to Fogliato. Higgins, an eight-year Columbia veteran, will continue to directly manage the North American e-commerce operations, while expanding her scope globally. Prior to Columbia, she was senior vice president of e-commerce at Toms Shoes and in various other leadership roles in e-commerce, retail and customer service operations at Guess?, Hot Topic, Cooking.com and Williams-Sonoma.
To further enhance the company’s digital capabilities across the enterprise and replacing the chief information officer position of Michael Hirt, who retires next April, Columbia Sportswear is creating a new chief digital information officer role, which will report directly to Tim Boyle. In addition, the Columbia brand is searching for a chief marketing officer, with an emphasis on enhancing marketing and social engagement in a digital marketplace.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cusick, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will retire from the company after 18 years in the second half of 2021, but before then, he will transition to a part-time role, assisting with operational matters including significant information technology and supply chain initiatives to ensure optimization for these key strategic investments. Cusick joined Columbia as corporate controller back in 2002 and served as chief financial officer from 2009 until assuming his most recent role in 2017.
In accordance with pre-established transition plans, Lisa Kulok, a 12-year Columbia veteran who currently serves as senior vice president of global supply chain operations and manufacturing, will be promoted to executive vice president. A 17-year Columbia veteran, Jim Swanson, presently senior vice president and chief financial officer, will be promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer. Both Kulok and Swanson will be reporting directly to Boyle. Brent Beeson, vice president of apparel manufacturing, will become senior vice president, manufacturing, reporting directly to Kulok. Beeson has been with Columbia for 22 years.