VF Corp. has appointed Jan van Leeuwen as the new European chief of The North Face. He is taking the place of Kate Smith, who left in July after 16 successful months working in European sales for the brand. Most recently, Van Leeuwen held a similar position at Vans, which is VF's action lifestyle brand and other major property.
As vice president and general manager of the brand for Europe and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), van Leeuwen has been asked to build on 11 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in the region by translating a global strategy into “effective consumer engagement and marketplace execution.”
Van Leeuwen joined VF in 2011 and became the vice president and general manager of Vans for the EMEA region after one year as the region's sales director. Vans has been growing very strongly in EMEA until recently.
Van Leeuwen previously held senior leadership positions at Nike Europe, from 2000 to 2004; O'Neill, from 2004 to 2007; and Sole Technology, the parent company of another skate footwear brand, Etnies. He ran the company's European subsidiary in the Netherlands from 2008 to 2011.