Patrik Frisk, who has been in charge of VF Corporation's outdoor and action sports unit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the last two years, was placed at the helm of Timberland this week after VF completed its acquisition of The Timberland Company, the owner of the Timberland and Smartwool brands. Apparently, the group has already appointed a successor to Frisk, but it declined to mention his or her name at this point.
Frisk replaces Jeff Swartz, who was Timberland's president as well as chief executive and a shareholder – his father being the founder of the brand, Sidney Swartz. To serve as president and global leader of the Timberland brand, Frisk will relocate to Stratham, New Hampshire, where the footwear brand is based. He will report to Steve Rendle, president of VF's outdoor and action sports unit in the Americas.
Richard O'Rourke will continue as senior international vice president for the Timberland brand, in charge of its business in EMEA and Asia, and dealing with global distributors.
He will continue to be based in Wexham, in the U.K., and will report to Karl Heinz Salzburger, VF's group president for international activities.
Meanwhile, Mark Satkiewcz will remain at the helm of Smartwool, the brand of outdoor socks and accessories owned by Timberland. He is formally president of Smartwool Americas, located at the brand's head office in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and he will also report to Rendle.
As extensively reported by The Compass at the time, the acquisition agreed on by the two parties last June will form a group worth about $10 billion in annual sales, more than half of them generated by outdoor and action sports brands. Timberland should neatly complement the more apparel-oriented business of The North Face, the big outdoor brand owned by VF, along with Vans, Jansport, Napapijri, Reef, Eagle Creek and others.
The acquisition was completed at $43 per share and a total consideration of $2.3 billion, after anti-trust authorities approved the deal. VF said the buy will immediately add to VF's earnings per share, by about $0.45 in 2011 excluding expenses related to the acquisition and by some $0.25 per share including these expenses. It is expected to add about $700 million to VF's turnover in 2011.
The financing arrangements for the acquisition were completed in August with the issuance of $400 million in floating rate notes due in 2013 and $500 million of 3.5 percent notes due in 2021. The rest of the acquisition price was financed through a mix of cash on hand and commercial paper.
While VF will strive to make use of synergies, the head office of Timberland will remain in Stratham, and Smartwool will stay in Steamboat Springs.
Apart from Swartz, two other leading Timberland executives are leaving the company: Carrie Teffner, vice president and chief financial officer, who has been with Timberland since 2009, will leave this month; and Danette Wineberg, vice president, general counsel and secretary, is also leaving Timberland this month after 14 years at the company. Carden Welsh, senior vice president, chief administrative officer and board member, is staying only until December to serve as an executive adviser to Rendle and Frisk.
Just a few days earlier, VF told analysts that is was on track to lift its turnover by $1 billion this year, unimpeded by the financial shakiness of several large European markets. Autumn orders for Vans jumped by a whopping 50 percent in Europe, while orders for The North Face increased by 25 percent compared with last year. VF's chief financial officer, Bob Shearer, admitted at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference that the company remained weak in footwear, but added that the acquisition of Timberland would address that issue.