Steve Rendle, the current 57-year-old chief operating officer at VF Corporation, has been appointed to become the group's new chief executive from the start of next year. He will take over from Eric Wiseman, 60, who has held the job for nine years and will continue to serve as executive chairman of VF's board of directors.
Rendle has already been with the owner of The North Face, Vans and many other sports and fashion brands for 16 years. During this period, he has been involved in the development of a smooth and effective business model for the multi-brand conglomerate, combining a decentralized brand management approach with a highly centralized back office, covering all the stages of the supply chain up to the group's e-commerce platform. The centralized back end has helped building bridges among group brands for the development of their respective footwear and apparel operations.
The future new CEO started at VF with The North Face and served as the outdoor brand's president from 2004 to 2011. He was later placed in charge of VF's whole Outdoor and Action Sports Coalition in the Americas. He helped to lead the VF group's acquisition of Timberland in 2011.
Most recently, as group president and chief operating officer since June 2015, Rendle has supervised all of the company's sports and fashion entities, from outdoor and action sports to jeans, sportswear and more. He has been in charge of VF's global supply chain and its own retail operations. He joined VF's board of directors at the same time. Among other distinctions, he is a founding board member of the Outdoor Industry Association's Outdoor Foundation.
Rendle's promotion comes after a period of robust growth for VF's outdoor business that has recently slowed down. The Outdoor and Action Sports Coalition's turnover reached $7.4 billion in 2015, amounting to almost exactly 60 percent of the entire group's sales, and its operating profit margin landed at 17.1 percent for the year. However, the division's sales slipped by 3 percent in reported terms in the fourth quarter, rising by only one percent in constant currencies, due to the unfavorable winter weather.
In announcing the change of management, VF said that it has been working on identifying the right successor for Wiseman since 2008. As president and CEO of VF, Rendle will take charge of the group's strategic direction and the implementation and achievement of its short- and long-term growth as well as its daily operations, the group stated. Wiseman has been with VF for two decades.