VF Corporation is changing its management structure to suit changes in the way it does business, notably by dividing its brand portfolio into Core Brands and Emerging Brands and by getting them to be managed differently to help them achieve their full potential. Until now, the operations of its three largest brands have been bundled with those of other brands as part of the Outdoor, Active and Workwear divisions.
In particular, the group has appointed Steve Murray, an industry veteran with a strong track record, as president of The North Face, replacing Arne Arens, who has left the company. The brand has not been growing lately as fast as it did before, particularly when it was being run by Steve Rendle, the group’s current chairman, president and chief executive.
Murray was responsible for the strong growth of Vans while he ran the company for ten years following its acquisition by VF in 2004. He was placed in charge of all the brands in VF’s former Action Sports Coalition in 2009. Prior to that he worked for five years as a director of Dunlop Slazenger and for seven years as Reebok’s vice president of apparel. Murray left VF in 2010 to serve as brand president of Urban Outfitters, as EMEA president of Deckers Outdoor Corp. and as CEO of Airwear International, where he propelled the strong growth of an iconic brand, Dr. Martens. He returned to VF in April 2018 as vice president of strategic projects, handling among other things the integration of the newly acquired Altra brand. In November 2019, he was made group president for the U.S. and the rest of the Americas, a position that has now been eliminated.
Besides TNF, the other Core Brands of VF are Vans and Timberland. Doug Palladini, who has been running Vans since 2016, has been confirmed as global vice president of Vans, which is still the growing more rapidly than the other two. Like Murray, this former publisher and editor of Snowboarder Magazine had started at Vans as the man in charge of marketing.
VF is still looking for a permanent global brand president for Timberland, which has been suffering the most lately. For the time being, the brand will continue to be run by Martino Scabbia Guerrini, who has been in charge of the group’s operations in EMEA since the spring of 2017. He will also keep global responsibilities for Icebreaker, Napapijri, Eastpak and Kipling.
These and other brands, including for example Altra, Eagle Creek, Smartwool or Jansport, have been grouped into the Emerging Brands portfolio. They now have a been placed under the leadership of Kevin Bailey, who has now been appointed as president of Emerging Brands. Bailey will also continue to be in charge of Asia-Pacific. He was president of Vans between Murray’s and Palladini’s reign, from 2009 to 2016.
All four global brand presidents, along with the leaders of VF’s enterprise functions - Scott Roe, chief financial officer, plus Cameron Bayley (supply chain), Velia Carboni (digital), Anita Graham (human resources), Craig Hodges (corporate affairs), Laura Meagher (general counsel) and David Wagner (global strategy) - will now report directly to Rendle as members of VF’s Executive Leadership Team. Explaining the new structure, Rendle said that VF is placing “our strongest talent on our most important opportunities” while the group is working to become “a more integrated brand-building company.”