Devanlay S.A., the Paris-based holder of the worldwide manufacturing and distribution license for LACOSTE apparel, announced the appointment of Steve Birkhold as CEO of its US subsidiary effective Jan. 4, 2010. The current President and CEO Robert Siegel will step down at the end of the year.

“Bob and his team have over the years built LACOSTE into one of the premier apparel brands in the USA, and for that we are grateful,” says Jose Luis Duran, CEO of Devanlay S.A. “We are confident that Steve Birkhold, with his unique expertise and well-rounded experience, will galvanize the team as they forge ahead, turning obstacles we face today in the US market into new opportunities.”

Birkhold is currently the CEO of Diesel USA, a position he has held since October 2007. He started his career at May Department Stores, where he worked for 12 years — first as an executive trainee fresh out of university, then as a buyer and later in product development.

Birkhold honed his skills in the men's and women's sportswear businesses there and then went on to translate that success into the competitive denim arena at VF Corporation, where he served in several strategic positions including General Manager of Lee Jeans, President of Earl Jeans and finally General Manager of Nautica Jeans. He will be based in New York City and will report to Christian Rondelet, Devanlay S.A. Executive Vice President of Distribution. “I am excited to join a company that has benefited from strong growth and solid leadership,” Birkhold says of his appointment. “And I am looking forward to running such an iconic lifestyle brand in the US that reaches such a wide range of customers, both at the wholesale and retail levels.”

Siegel brought over 40 years of experience in the fashion ready-to-wear business to the LACOSTE team. He began his career at Levi-Strauss, where as CEO he was responsible for the invention of Dockers in 1986. In 1994, he was named Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the Stride Rite Corporation before joining Devanlay US, Inc in January 2002.

Devanlay S.A. holds the exclusive worldwide license for LACOSTE apparel. It is owned 90% by the Maus Freres International Services S.A.S. and 10% by LACOSTE S.A. Maus Freres thru Devanlay also owns 35% of LACOSTE S.A. with 65% owned by the Lacoste family. Today Devanlay operates 1100 LACOSTE boutiques around the world, including 67 boutiques and 19 outlets in the USA.