Levi Strauss & Co. on Tuesday announced a series of executive changes as part of the brand's effort to focus on direct-to-consumer and its digital transformation.
The company promoted Chief Marketing Officer Jen Sey to brand president, Liz O'Neill to chief operations officer and Seth Ellison to chief commercial officer. Marc Rosen, executive vice president and president of the Americas, will also oversee the new digital enterprise office, managing technology, business, data and artificial intelligence leaders, per the company statement.
Each of the executives promoted will report to Chip Bergh, president and CEO of the company, and will be tasked with facilitating the brand's growth strategy, the company noted.
Levi's is seeking to diversify its business, focus on direct-to-consumer and modernize its digital operations, and is taking the COVID-19 pandemic — which has shifted consumer spending online — as the moment to do so, Bergh said.
"[W]e are capitalizing on the opportunities created by the global pandemic, which has accelerated changes in consumer behavior and the competitive landscape," Bergh said in a statement.
He noted that with its new leadership team, the company has positioned itself for future growth. Other retailers, perhaps most notably Bed Bath & Beyond, have also recently announced initiatives to focus more on digital transformation, and hired executives to back that up. Outside of just digital, some big players in retail have used October to fill out their C-suites, including Adidas, which hired a new HR chief, Macy's, which hired a CFO and Away, which transitioned to a single CEO.
As is true with other apparel brands, Levi's has faced challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the company to adjust its staffing. In early July, the brand cut 700 non-retail and non-manufacturing jobs internationally, which amounted to 15% of that workforce. In late July, Nike made a similar move by announcing it was going to reduce its workforce as it accelerated its digital strategy and coped with revenue losses.
Though Levi's has its eye on digital operations and a more direct-to-consumer focused business, the brand still has brick-and-mortar, and wholesale, ties. Earlier this month, the company said it will sell its premium Red Tab merchandise across 500 Target stores by the end of 2021, up from 50 stores a year ago.