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Tiffany Montgomery
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Steve Murray on changes in VF's structure

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 21, 2009 6:52 AM

I followed up with Vans President Steve Murray to ask what yesterday's restructuring at VF means for VF and its brands and for Steve's role at Vans. He provided some great insight into what the changes mean in his view, and how he will be working with Reef.

VF announced Tuesday that the Outdoor coalition is being split in two. VF has created the Outdoor Americas coalition and the Action Sports Americas coalition. Steve was promoted to head up the Action Sports Americas coalition as president, responsible for Reef and Vans.

Dave Gatto, formerly president of the Outdoor Coalition, is leaving the company.

Here's what Steve had to say about the changes:

What it means for VF and its brands structurally

Steve: "My view - the biggest benefit is the separation of the brands into distinct and recognizable consumer segments. It gives Action Sports its own "voice" within the organization and the industry - and will be hugely positive for VF in terms of culture and focus - both in terms of ongoing operations and potentially, our being more attractive to other brands from an acquisition (by VF) standpoint.

"By the way, the same is true for our European based brands (Napapijri, Kipling and Eastpak) and for VF's "true" Outdoor brands (The North Face, Jansport and Eagle Creek.) They're all activity based and will benefit from operating closer to their own cultures.

"I think all the new Coalitions will be more powerful by being able to zero in on their unique consumer and market segments, instead of being grouped together under the old Outdoor model, with all its diverse consumer types and business models."

Does this mean you will be spending more time on Coalition duties and less being in charge of Vans? Will anybody at Vans take on additional duties?

Steve: "I'm inevitably going to be spending more time on both Corporate liaison and the Reef brand, but Vans is still by far the largest component of the new Action Sport Coalition's sales, so I won't be reducing my focus on Vans business very dramatically.

"It's too early to say whether I'll be allocating responsibilities differently to our executive team going forward - in fairness, I need to see what I've inherited first. My first priority will be to get to know the Reef team better, let them outline their vision for me and get to know the subtleties of their business."

 

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