VF Corp. announced and confirmed several leadership changes at some of its top outdoor brands this past week as the company looks to restructure and rebound after several disappointing quarters.

At Timberland, VF appointed Jim Pisani as the brand’s new global president August 8, replacing Stewart Whitney, who left the company in July after nearly two years on the job.

Pisani served as president of VF’s Licensed Sports Group since 2008, including leading the Majestic brand, which is the official uniform provider for Major League Baseball. The group, which also supplies apparel and fanwear through licensing agreements, is thought to be up for sale by VF, after officials announced this spring they would “seek strategic alternatives” for the business.

Prior to VF, Pisani held a succession of leadership roles in branding, merchandising, sales and marketing at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods.

“Jim is a tremendously talented and accomplished executive with a proven track record of delivering consistent business results and generating new growth opportunities,” said VF Outdoor and Action Sports, Americas, Group President Scott Baxter. “His passion, energy and embodiment of the values deeply rooted in the Timberland brand and in VF make him the ideal leader to guide the brand into its next phase of global growth.”

Mike Pardini replaces Pisani to lead VF Licensed Sports Group, being promoted from vice president of sales of the business.

Smartwool President Departs for Toms
A few days earlier at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Mark Satkiewicz announced his departure from VF as president of the Smartwool brand to take a job as general manager of the Americas at Toms. VF confirmed the news and said Baxter will lead the brand on an interim basis.

Satkiewicz had spent 10 years at Smartwool, joining the brand as vice president of sales in 2006, shortly after Timberland purchased the merino wool sock and apparel company. He was promoted to president of Smartwool in 2009 and continued in the role after VF Corp bought Timberland in 2011.

“Certainly, it’s a step forward in my career,” Satkiewicz told Steamboat Pilot and Today on Aug. 5, the local newspaper in Smartwool’s hometown. “It’s a bigger brand. This is a great opportunity for me to spend time in an area I’m really passionate about, and it’s helping people.”

New Direction
Whether Whitney and Satkiewicz were asked to leave or decided to depart on their own, its likely VF’s recent rough patch spurred action.

In late July, the company cut its 2016 forecast, citing in part cautious ordering by U.S. retailers and an oversupply of Timberland boots. Brand revenue at Timberland fell a greater-than-expected 7 percent in the second quarter of 2016 versus the same year-ago period.  The rumblings started in the fourth-quarter 2015, when VF reported that its Outdoor & Action Sports Group posted a rare decline (-3 percent) in sales, in large part due to weak winter weather.

Following the poor results, officials promised changes to get the company back on track, including the potential sale of several of its businesses. In late June, VF signed a deal to sell its Contemporary Brands business — including 7 for All Mankind, Splendid and Ella Moss — to Delta Galil Industries, Ltd for $120 million.

“Earlier this year we said that we are taking a focused and proactive look at the composition of our business portfolio to ensure that we are well-positioned to maximize VF’s growth and return to our shareholders,” VF CEO Eric Wiseman said. “This announcement illustrates that our work as active portfolio managers is progressing.”

Lead photo courtesy VF Corp./Jim Pisani