US Gap names new CEO of Banana Republic

Gap Inc on March 14, 2017 named Mark Breitbard as Chief Executive of its Banana Republic unit, as the retailer looks to revamp the brand, which has been struggling with sales declines.

Mark BreitbardBreitbard, who will join Gap in early May, was most recently the CEO of San Francisco-based children’s apparel retailer Gymboree Corp.

Gap, once known for its logo-emblazoned hoodies and sweat shirts, has been looking to replicate the success of its low-end Old Navy brand at its Gap and Banana Republic businesses.

Like other traditional apparel retailers, Gap is battling shoppers’ changing preferences as many turn to online retailers or buy at fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Inditex’s Zara that offer trendier clothes at cheaper prices.

Breitbard, who will replace Andi Owen, was also previously with Gap North America, Levi Strauss & Co and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Breitbard, who was also chief merchandising and creative officer of Gap’s Old Navy brand from 2009 to early 2010, will report to CEO Art Peck in his new role.

The company said late last month that it had expected comparable sales to be flat to up slightly in 2017, reversing two straight years of declines, indicating that the company’s turnaround efforts are gaining momentum.

Semperit CEO Thomas Fahnemann to quit immediately

Thomas FahnemannSemperit CEO Thomas Fahnemann requested the Supervisory Board to immediately release him from his Management Board contract. Fahnemann explained this step with seeking new professional challenges after the successful termination of the joint venture transaction and the related realignment of Semperit.

Veit Sorger, as Chairman of the Supervisory Board, expresses his regrets concerning this step: “In the past six years, Thomas Fahnemann has guided Semperit into a new direction. Semperit is an internationally successful company with a convincing strategy that has been shaped to a significant extent by Thomas Fahnemann. His personal achievements include the dynamic expansion and realignment of the highly profitable Industrial Sector, the development of our own glove production in Malaysia as well as the resolution of the joint venture dispute with Sri Trang. Thanks to his dedicated management, Semperit is well positioned today and will utilise its growth potential in the best possible way even in a difficult market environment.”

Martin Füllenbach to be new CEO of Semperit 

On March 27, 2017 the Nominating Committee of Semperit AG Holding has decided unanimously to propose Martin Füllenbach as the company’s new Chairman of the Management Board (CEO) to the Supervisory Board

Martin Füllenbach_Original_27291Born in Germany, Füllenbach (49) studied economics and business organisation in Munich, and subsequently gained his doctorate in financial sciences in Nuremberg. He is recognised as a top manager with many years of experience in highly renowned industrial companies.

Most recently, Füllenbach has been CEO of Oerlikon Leybold Vakuum in Cologne since 2012 and, in addition, an appointed member of the Group Management Board of OC Oerlikon AG in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, since 2014.

From 2007 to 2012, Füllenbach was Head of Corporate Development as well as from 2007 to 2012 Director of Voith Turbo, which is headquartered in Heidenheim, Germany: He was a member of the divisional management “drive technology” as well as CEO of the business unit “marine”.

After more than ten years as an officer of the German Armed Forces with numerous international deployments, he took over tasks in the planning staff of the CEO and in programme planning of the military aircraft production at the aerospace company EADS at the beginning of his industrial career.

“We are very pleased to have won Martin Füllenbach, a renowned international top manager, as new CEO. We are confident that the Semperit Group will strongly benefit from his know- how and his experience, particularly in realigning companies as well as building and developing new business areas,“ says Veit Sorger, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Semperit AG Holding, about the upcoming appointment of the new CEO.

The Supervisory Board of Semperit AG Holding had already known Füllenbach as an excellent manager due to his former professional activities and had counted him as member of a pool of potential CEO candidates. This was crucial for quickly filling the position of CEO with an excellent candidate after the resignation of Thomas Fahnemann.

The appointment of Martin Füllenbach as CEO for a term from June 1, 2017 to December 31,2020  is scheduled for the Supervisory Board Meeting on April 26, 2017.

From cotton back to coffee

ICAC Executive Director will be next head of International Coffee Organization

José Sette, the Executive Director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), was selected by consensus on Friday, March 17th, to be the next Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO). Sette had worked at the ICO for five years before joining ICAC.Neuer-ICAC-Director

 In his acceptance speech, Sette expressed his gratitude to ICAC Members and his affection for cotton. “My time at ICAC has been a wonderful and enriching experience. I have the deepest appreciation for the benefits cotton brings to millions of people all over the world. At the ICO, I will seek to work closely with the ICAC on matters of mutual interest. During my remaining time at the ICAC, I will focus on preparing a smooth transition and will be at the disposal of the next Executive Director for anything that may be required.”

José Sette will leave the ICAC at the end of April. Information about applications for the post of ICAC Executive Director can be found here

NCTO Elects South Carolina Fibrew Manufacturing CEO as 2017 Chairman

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) held its 14th Annual Meeting March 21-23 in Washington, DC.  The elected as NCTO officers for 2017 are:

•             NCTO Chairman – William “Bill” V. McCrary Jr.New Chairman NCTO

Mr. McCrary is Chairman and CEO of William Barnet and Son LLC, a synthetic fibre/yarn/polymer firm headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina with plants and/or offices in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Mr. McCrary also served as 2016 NCTO Vice Chairman

•             NCTO Vice Chairman – Marty MoranMarty Moran

Mr. Moran is CEO of Buhler Quality Yarns Corp., a leading fine-count yarn supplier with a manufacturing plant and its U.S. headquarters in Jefferson, Georgia.

Also at the meeting, outgoing 2016 National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Chairman Robert “Rob” H. Chapman, III delivered the trade association’s 2017 State of the U.S. Textile Industry overview on March 23, 2017.

Mr. Chapman’s statement outlined the U.S. textile supply chain economic, employment and trade data, as well as the 2017 policy priorities of domestic textile manufacturers.  The text of his remarks as prepared for delivery are included in this press statement along with links to an economic data infographic and a “Check the Tag” illustration of U.S. textile industry’s trading relationship with Mexico.

Outgoing Chairman of NCTOChapman is Chairman and CEO of Inman Mills, a yarn and fabric manufacturer headquartered in Inman, South Carolina. 

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers. 

•             U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 565000 in 2016. 

•             The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was USD 74.4 billion last year, a nearly 11% increase since 2009. 

•             U.S. exports of fibre, textiles and apparel were USD 26.3 billion in 2016. 

The most important U.S. export markets by region are:

  • USD 11.5 billion – NAFTA
  • USD 3.2 billion – CAFTA-DR
  • USD 7.0 billion – Asia
  • USD 2.8 billion – Europe
  • USD 1.8 billion – Rest of World

Focusing solely on America’s USD 13 billion in man-made fiber, yarn and fabric exports, the countries buying the most product are:

  • USD 4.4 billion – Mexico
  • USD 1.6 billion – Canada
  • USD 1.3 billion – Honduras
  • USD 759 million – China
  • USD 439 million – Dominican Republic

Wrapping up the numbers, the fundamentals for the U.S. textile industry remain sound. This is true even though the U.S. market for textiles and apparel was soft in 2016.  For the most part, the sluggishness was due to factors beyond the industry’s control: an underperforming U.S. economy, a weak global economy, and disruption within the retail sector as sales shift from brick and mortar outlets to the internet.  With that said, the U.S. textile industry’s commitment to capital re-investment and a continued emphasis on quality and innovation make it well-positioned to adapt to market changes and take advantage of opportunities as 2017 moves along.

•             Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totalled USD2 billion in 2015, the last year for which data is available.

The 2016 figures include:

  • 113900 jobs in yarns and fabrics
  • 115000 jobs in home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
  • 131300 jobs in apparel manufacturing
  • 25700 jobs in man-made fibers
  • 126600 jobs in cotton farming and related industry
  • 52500 jobs in wool growing and related industry

Datatex appoints director of USA sales and marketing

Due to rapid global expansion, Datatex will align resources to focus on regional marketing and sales initiatives

Datatex has announced that Jon Buchan back in February 2017 has joined the firm to further develop their sales and marketing strategy in the North American market.

Ronnie Hagin, CEO of Datatex said “Jon is a key addition to the Datatex family. We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being the leading technology company for the Textile and Apparel Industry. Our new product releases and the increasing demand from our customers led us to look for an addition to our team who can lead us in communicating the unparalleled value of our software solutions and consulting capabilities. It is very fortunate that we could find someone of Jon’s industry depth and experience to fulfil this role. I’m confident that Jon will play a key role in Datatex’s continued growth.”

Jon Buchan mentioned that the “value-oriented solution offerings from Datatex have consistently generated more profitability and created more digital transformation for their customers than any other solution on the planet. In my new role, I have the responsibility to ensure that this message is loud and clear and give every Textile & Apparel organization the opportunity to unlock their potential and compete effectively. I’m very excited about the future with Datatex.”

Datatex has been crafting elegant Textile and Apparel software solutions since 1987.

Datatex is cloud-ready, industry-built and transformative.

Wal-Mart reorganises Tech Group to strengthen Mobile

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., following a management shake-up after its USD 3.3 billion acquisition of online retailer Inc. in September, announced new roles for some in its technology group. Three senior IT leaders have been elevated to oversee units for customer systems, analytics, and technical engineering as Wal-Mart works to unify online and in-store technology.

The moves are intended to align technology work to the ways consumers increasingly shop, using mobile apps to research items and navigate physical stores and buying online to pick up in stores, said Fiona Tan, who was promoted to senior vice president of U.S. customer technology. Ms. Tan joined Wal-Mart in 2014 and had been vice president of engineering in the company’s international group.

Like other retailers, Wal-Mart has had to change the way it conceives and delivers technology to match changing customer habits.

Wal-Mart has been investing billions in remodelling stores, building distribution centres to fill online orders and expand online capabilities. In the 2016 holiday shopping period, Wal-Mart pushed its mobile app as a means for customers to find items in physical stores and order hot-selling items that weren’t available on shelves.

The company has worked for several years to build e-commerce technology that can help it compete with Inc., opening Silicon Valley offices and relying more on open-source tools and a DevOps approach. In its most recent quarter, which includes the holiday shopping surge, Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce sales growth decelerated from previous quarter. Online sales rose 16% including the first full quarter of sales from Inc., which Wal-Mart purchased in September. In the previous quarter e-commerce sales rose 21%, as the Journal reported.

Walmart 1Jaya Kolhatkar, who joined Wal-Mart in 2013 through its acquisition of predictive analytics firm Inkiru Inc. in 2013, is now senior vice president of global data and analytics platform. Kolhatkar cofounded Inkiru after leaving eBay Inc. in 2011.

Jae Evans was promoted to vice president of global technical engineering and operations, Jae Evanscontinuing responsibility for core infrastructure services, according to a memo to employees from Jeremy King, Wal-Mart’s chief technology officer.

Wal-Mart sees the mobile device as the linchpin of a customer experience that blends online and in-store shopping, with the retailer’s mobile app and mobile payments service playing significant roles. One key project under that concept is rethinking how pharmacy customers order and pick up prescriptions, Tan said.Fiona Tan

The company is exploring how to let pharmacy customers order refills through a mobile app, and in some cases, answer pharmacist questions through the app. Wal-Mart could send alerts through the app when prescriptions are ready for pickup or when questions arise about, say, substituting a generic drug for name brand. The company hopes to shorten wait times for people picking up prescriptions to as few as five minutes, she said.

Such a project will require integrating back-end pharmacy and customer systems with Wal-Mart’s mobile app, a more complex undertaking in some ways than allowing mobile shopping, she said. Customers would have to set up accounts that link to insurance information and other sensitive data. Wal-Mart would also have to integrate data from backend systems that weren’t originally built for mobile use, she said.

Making it easier for customers to pick up and pay for items they selected online is one priority, Kolhatkar said in an interview. That will entail encouraging more customers to use Walmart Pay, the retailer’s mobile payments technology, to settle transactions on their mobile devices and, perhaps, do self-pay, she said.

Wal-Mart’s online grocery business uses mobile check-in and geofencing to detect when a customer has arrived at the store. Employees then find the customer’s order and bring it to the pickup location to minimize wait time. Wal-Mart wants to extend that capability to non-grocery pickups, Ms. Tan said.

In the past year, Wal-Mart has rearranged its technology and ecommerce operations as it integrates In February, Karenann Terrell left as Wal-Mart’s CIO. Former GE Power CIO Clay Johnson joined as CIO, a role that Wal-Mart redefined as focused more on corporate services. A year earlier, Wal-Mart combined corporate IT with e-commerce into a single unit reporting to its then-head of e-commerce Neil Ashe. Ashe then left Wal-Mart in November 2016 as Marc Lore, founder of, took over Wal-Mart’s e-commerce business.


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