Daniel Grieder has stepped down as chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe after 23 years with the group and is being succeeded by Martijn Hagman. The move is effective today.
Hagman has been chief operating officer of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe and chief financial officer, Tommy Hilfiger Global, overseeing operations, finance, digital business transformation, technology and business development. He has served on Hilfiger’s leadership team for 12 years and has been instrumental in the brand’s global expansion and the strategy that led to PVH Europe’s consistent year-over-year growth. Prior to joining Hilfiger in 2008, the Dutch-born Hagman was with Ernst & Young for 10 years within the international audit practice.
Hagman, 45, and Grieder, 58, have been working closely for the last 12 years. As did Grieder, Hagman will report to Stefan Larsson, president of PVH, and is based in Amsterdam.
“Together, Daniel and Martijn have instilled a future-focused vision, putting consumers at its core and creating a product-driven culture,” said Larsson. “We are thankful for Daniel’s many years of strong leadership and great accomplishments. I have great confidence in Martijn as a leader with a deep understanding of the underlying value drivers of the business. His consumer-centric mind-set and digitally focused leadership will successfully guide the next era of sustainable and profitable growth for Tommy Hilfiger and the European region,” he said.
In a joint interview Monday with Grieder and Hagman, Larsson said, “While there is no perfect time for a change like this, when Daniel came to me and Manny [Chirico, ceo of PVH Corp.] after 23 years and expressed that he wants to do something more entrepreneurial, the only right thing to do was to be supportive of that. It was made easier due to the Tommy brand and PVH brand being very strong. We had a succession plan in place, and the team is very strong.”
Larsson said that the selection of Hagman was a natural choice.
“When we looked at the succession, it became quickly clear to me, Manny and the board that Martijn was a great match to the criteria of the role,” said Larsson. “The main reason is that Martijn has spent 12 years on the team, and as chief operating officer, he has been a co-pilot to Daniel in creating the success we see. He understands not only the underlying drivers of the business, he also has the trust of the team. I would say one of Daniel’s lasting contributions will be the strength of the team.
According to Larsson, Hagman is well-positioned and ready to work with the team, not only to ensure a seamless transition, “but also to accelerate the forward-looking work that’s being done.” He described Hagman as well-rounded, strategic, and learning- and improvement-focused, with an awareness of not only what he can contribute himself, but also the strength of the team that goes beyond himself.
Chirico, chairman and ceo of PVH, said, “Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe came into this year on the same successful path they have been on, with strong sales trends and improving brand awareness, and connecting with consumers. Daniel has been a champion of growing our innovation capabilities and expanding Tommy Hilfiger’s reach around the world, always pushing for a consumer-centric, digitally focused and sustainable mind-set, while building a very strong management team.”
Known as an entrepreneurial leader, Grieder has positioned the company as a leading lifestyle brand by focusing on product, consumer engagement, digitalization and corporate responsibility initiatives. Since Grieder assumed the ceo post of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe in 2014, Hilfiger’s business has increased from $6 billion to over $9 billion in retail sales in 2019, and the Calvin Klein European business more than doubled in revenues and earnings.
When PVH Europe took over the CK Europe business in 2013 (post Warnaco acquisition), it was generating $450 million in sales and was essentially break even. Today, CK Europe does over $1 billion in sales with double-digit EBIT margins in 2019.
“It has been a phenomenal 23 years,” said Grieder. “As we are in the midst of this seismic shift in our industry, we find ourselves in a unique position to make a change that I believe will launch us into a new era for the brand. It’s a good feeling to know I can pass my seat to Martijn — he’s been a true friend, trusted confidant and reliable co-pilot on the last 12 years of this journey. There is never a perfect moment to leave an organization you love; the options are to leave too late or too early, and I knew I wanted do make this change while still having the optimism, energy and passion I’ve always held onto in my career.”
In response to why he chose to leave in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, Grieder said, “The world has changed, and I felt ready for a change for myself. I have six or seven years left in my professional career. I came as an entrepreneur to this company, and I want to end it as an entrepreneur. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m looking for something more entrepreneurial where I can invest. I feel ready, I feel strong, I feel full of energy and spirit, and am ready to do something in the future where I can bring my entrepreneurial spirit into whatever I’m going to do.”
Grieder described his proudest accomplishments as establishing Tommy as a global and successful brand in every country; leading “see-now-buy now” with Tommy Now; transforming Tommy and Calvin in Europe together, and putting the digital showroom in place, “which was one of my favorite projects.”
“There are so many fantastic things I’m proud of,” said Grieder. “I’m most proud of the team I built. Also, with the help of Tommy being supportive that is probably the most important thing. The company’s ready, the team is ready to bring it further. There will be no disruptions or break after me.”
Speed, innovation and digitalization have been the hallmark of Grieder’s tenure, leading to several key initiatives including the digital showroom, a concept that has established an industry benchmark for selling; the “Store of the Future,” which blends traditional shopping with digital innovation, customization experiences, and most recently 3-D product design, which is designed to support the transformation of Hilfiger’s value chain to increase speed to market and faster integrate consumer insights into new collections. They also opened a new Amsterdam campus to house the headquarters for Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, as well as a Product Innovation Center with the first 100 percent recycled cotton denim style. In 2016, the company completed the China buyback to be able to better invest in the business and take it to the next level. Under Grieder’s leadership, Hilfiger’s footprint has expanded to over 100 countries, with more than 2,000 retail stores.
Grieder started as an independent distributor of Tommy Hilfiger (and Pepe Jeans) in his native Switzerland and in Austria as part of the pan-European launch of the Hilfiger brand in 1997. He joined Hilfiger Europe in 2004, was appointed chief operating officer in 2006, and became ceo in 2008. Following PVH’s acquisition of Warnaco in 2013, Grieder assumed the role of ceo, PVH Europe, overseeing PVH’s businesses for both Hilfiger and Calvin Klein in Europe. On July 1, 2014, he became ceo, Tommy Hilfiger Global, succeeding Fred Gehring, in addition to his continued role as ceo, PVH Europe.
In 2015, Hilfiger rolled out a digital showroom for wholesale buying at its Amsterdam headquarters, and last November, the company disclosed ambitions to begin designing entirely in 3-D starting with spring 2022. Already, 66 percent of Hilfiger’s designers are trained in 3-D design, and by the end of the year it’s aiming for 100 percent. Some 35 product groups are designed in 3-D, representing about 80 percent coverage of the brand universe.
Discussing the merits of a financial executive such as Hagman leading the company, rather than someone who came up through the marketing ranks, Grieder said, “I’ve always said, he’s a cfo, but he’s not a typical cfo. He has so many talents. I also gave him chief operating officer, so he learned the operational side of the business. He was involved in sales, he was involved in retail, he was involved in e-comm, and he was involved in sustainability. We did it all together over the past years. He has all the tools in his hand and the know-how to become the next ceo.”
Hagman said he plans to stay the course that he’s been developing with Grieder the past several years.
“It is an honor to continue to build on the achievements of the Tommy Hilfiger brand and PVH Europe alongside an exceptional and passionate management team. My thanks to Daniel extend well beyond the unwavering support, development opportunities and leadership he has provided over the years. We are confident in continuing to execute on the current strategic plan, and our focus for the coming months will be on the recovery and rebound phase of our global businesses out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hagman.
Hagman said Grieder has been the best coach over the years, and has given him so many development opportunities. He plans to work closely with Hilfiger, Larsson and the teams. Reporting to Hagman will be product presidents of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Europe, PVH Europe, the Tommy Hilfiger Global creative director, the Tommy Hilfiger chief marketing officer, PVH Europe chief commercial officer and PVH Europe human resources.
Asked how he plans to put his own stamp on the business, Hagman said, “At the moment, we have a very strong strategy in place. There’s not really a need to change the strategic direction, which I co-developed with Daniel and we have even been executing very successfully over the last couple of years. Looking at how the ‘new normal’ is shaping up, our business is changing, our strategic priorities around understanding our consumer and leading in digital and omnichannel and product is king, those strategic priorities are as relevant as pre-COVID-19, and maybe even more relevant now going into the recovery phase from this crisis,” he said.
As far as how the reopened stores are performing in Europe and whether consumers are eager to shop again, he said, “I have to say the first signs are cautiously optimistic in the sense that they’re better than what we’ve planned for. We’re seeing very similar recovery curves as we’ve seen in China. Europe really seems to be following that — which channels are doing well, what is changing in consumer behavior, what is changing in terms of traffic in the stores and online, it’s very similar. We have a lot of learnings from how things are going in China. It is going relatively well, and we are cautiously optimistic. It’s too early to say the recovery is there and everything is great.”
Larsson added, “Asia is almost fully back in business, Europe is approximately 65 percent open, and the U.S. is approximately 50 percent open. What we see is improving week-over-week performance. China has been open the longest, and we have seen a real improvement in that business, and we have seen a strong comeback. We’re cautiously optimistic.”
According to Larsson, PVH is following the government’s guidelines and are ready to open up step by step. “We look forward to move beyond the immediate crisis and move into a recovery phase. We are excited to see week-over-week improvements, and we have turned the corner.”
Turning to the opportunities for Calvin Klein Europe, Hagman said, “Calvin Klein has been a very interesting and successful story for us since the 2013 acquisition. Two thousand and fourteen was all about the integration and turnaround of that business. It really started to pay off in 2015 and beyond. The business has been consistently growing double digit, and since the acquisition, we’ve doubled our volume and net sales. Within Europe, it’s our biggest growth opportunity. The Tommy brand is much bigger today than Calvin with penetration in almost all European markets. There’s no reason to believe that Calvin can’t take a similar market share in each of those markets. We’re very optimistic about the future of Calvin in those markets.”
The strongest regions for the Tommy brand globally are Germany, the U.S. and China, Hagman noted.
Hagman said he is equally as enthusiastic about 3-D development as Grieder. “I was in the lucky position to lead most of those initiatives. I very much believe in the future of that. It’s digitalization throughout the entire value chain,” he said.
He explained that the company has digital selling in place, digital showrooms will develop into remote selling where customers can place orders remotely, and in the stores, they’ve done initiatives in what they call the Store of the Future. Recently, its biggest focus the last two years has been the 3-D developments. “All those advantages of doing 3-D design have clearly accelerated now under the crisis…we’ve seen an explosion of requests from our design teams to participate in 3-D design and accelerating the digital collection reviews and accelerate integrations with key vendors in the Far East and Europe. That whole 3-D roadmap got enormous acceleration. We are using that momentum and investing in that significantly,” said Hagman.
As for the future of designer partnerships such as those with Gigi Hadid and Zendaya, Hagman said they are figuring it out and the collaborations they have done in the past years have been successful and strong. “Together with Michael [Scheiner, cmo] and Daniel, we are brainstorming what’s next, and what are the end consumers expecting from us? This crisis puts a different light on a lot of things. We really have to go back to the drawing board and rethink about how do we continue with collaborations, in which shape or form. In a way, the opportunities are endless.” said Hagman. He pointed to the livestreaming they did last week.
In North America, Hilfiger has opened up distribution beyond its formerly exclusive deal with Macy’s to tier-one stores, carrying more elevated European product. “I would classify those as tests and learning to see the response from the North American consumer to the higher price points and the European product,” said Hagman.
Larsson said Macy’s will remain an important partner while they engage with other partners. In Europe they have partnerships with Zalando, and in China with Tmall, and in the U.S., with traditional department stores and Amazon.
“The web site will be increasingly important and accelerated with the COVID[-19] infection. Daniel and the team have done a really good job in building out our e-commerce,” said Hagman.
To ensure a smooth transition, Grieder said he plans to remain at the company through June and then will be available if needed for the next five months.
Both Grieder and Hagman have worked alongside Tommy Hilfiger, the brand’s founder and principal designer, for many years.
“My belief and excitement for the future of our brand has never been stronger,” said Hilfiger. “Daniel’s biggest gifts to our organization have been connecting the brand more strongly with our consumers and building a culture within the organization that is devoted to staying on the cutting edge of product innovation and culture. Martijn has been on that journey, and together, we’re going to keep writing the future of our brand — along with our partners and consumers around the world.”
As reported, as PVH has dealt with the global pandemic the last few months, it has had to furlough a good percentage of its U.S. workforce and give executives pay cuts. It has also cut back or eliminated all discretionary spending, including marketing, cut capital expenditures to about $190 million from $345 million last year, closely managed inventories, and focused on cutting working capital, redeploying inventory and consolidating future seasonal collections.
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