Columbia Sportswear Company announced a series of senior leadership changes executing on transition plans, supporting the company’s omnichannel plans for growth and digital opportunities.
Thomas B. Cusick has announced his intention to retire from the company. In February 2021 Cusick will step down from his role as Executive VP and COO and transition to a part-time role with the company, assisting with operational matters, including IT and supply chain to ensure optimization of these key strategic investments, until his retirement from the company in the second half of 2021. Cusick joined Columbia in September 2002 as Corporate Controller and served as CFO from 2009 until assuming his most recent role as COO in 2017.
“Tom has been a true source of leadership over the past 18 years. During his tenure at Columbia, Tom has helped lead the company from net sales of approximately $800 million in 2002 to over $3 billion in 2019. He will be sorely missed, but we are thankful for the time and energy he has devoted to elevating the company to what it is today,” said Tim Boyle, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.
Lisa A. Kulok, Senior VP, Global Supply Chain Operations and Manufacturing, will become Executive VP & Chief Supply Chain Officer. Jim A. Swanson, Senior VP and CFO, will become Executive VP and CFO, both reporting directly to Tim Boyle. Brent Beeson, VP, Apparel Manufacturing, will become Senior VP, Manufacturing, reporting directly to Kulok.
“I have worked closely with Lisa and Jim for many years and have complete confidence in their leadership abilities as we navigate through the changes in our business model. I look forward to continuing to partner with them through the transition,” said Cusick.
In addition, the company has made changes to its senior leadership organization to support the company’s omnichannel growth plans.
“We are announcing changes today to capitalize on Columbia’s omnichannel growth potential by aligning our organizational structure globally to accelerate our business transformation with a focus on eCommerce and digital,” said Boyle. “The time for change has never been better, and we see a real opportunity with these changes.”
Franco Fogliato, Executive VP, Americas GM, will lead the company’s focus on the omnichannel experience by transitioning to Executive VP, Global Omni-Channel, overseeing all Columbia brand sales in direct markets globally supporting and building commercial channel teams that will align to bring its brand message to all the direct markets. As a result of this change, VP & GM, EMEA, Matthieu Schegg, will report directly to Fogliato, as well as Senior VP, Asia Direct, Peter Rauch.
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. To support Columbia brand eCommerce strategies, Patricia Higgins, VP eCommerce, will transition to Senior VP, e-Commerce, reporting directly to Fogliato. Higgins will continue to directly manage the North America eCommerce operation while expanding her scope globally to provide strategic guidance and best practices to enhance the company’s global Columbia brand eCommerce businesses.
“Franco has been instrumental in driving growth in Europe and in the US, and I believe he will now be enabled to do so on a more global scale,” said Boyle.
The company is creating a new Chief Digital Information Officer role, which will report directly to Boyle. This role will also serve to replace the CIO position when Michael Hirt retires in April 2021. In addition, the Columbia brand is searching for a CMO with an emphasis on enhancing marketing and social engagement in a digital marketplace.
“The leadership changes we are making today are intended to accelerate sustainable growth for the organization. We will continue to focus on our strategic priorities to drive global brand awareness and sales growth through increased, focused demand creation investments; enhance consumer experience and digital capabilities in all of our channels and geographies; expand and improve global Direct-to-Consumer operations with supporting processes and systems, and invest in our people and optimize our organization across our portfolio of brands. We believe that these changes will make Columbia stronger in the future,” said Boyle.
Photo courtesy Columbia Sportswear