Timberland’s Frisk Leaves to Become CEO of Aldo Group

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Patrik Frisk, who headed VF Corp.’s Timberland business, is leaving the company to become chief executive officer of the shoe retailer Aldo Group Inc.

“After over 10 wonderful years at VF Corporation, I have decided to move on and take on a new challenge,” Frisk said yesterday in an e-mail. “From November, I will be based in Montreal, Canada, leading the Aldo Group.”

Frisk helped revitalize the Timberland brand, which was acquired by Greensboro, North Carolina-based VF in 2011. Earlier this year, he became the coalition president for VF’s outdoor Americas business, which includes the North Face and Timberland brands. Aldo, meanwhile, is a 42-year-old retail shoe chain with more than 1,750 stores around the world.

“The company is incredibly vibrant, dynamic and has a unique culture rooted in strong values, with lots of potential for future growth,” Frisk said.

Frisk will replace Aldo CEO Rejean Dionne, who will retire in November, Aldo said today in an e-mailed statement.

“With his impressive background in global brand retail and wholesale, Patrik will be instrumental in helping the Aldo Group reach new heights,” Aldo Bensadoun, the company’s founder and chairman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We share the same values and are confident that he will have great success in continuing to build the Aldo Group’s leadership and culture around the world.”

‘Successful Turnaround’

Timberland is VF’s third-largest brand and remains its largest acquisition. The company’s outdoor and action sports division accounts for 56 percent of VF’s total revenue. The company expects Timberland to generate $3.1 billion in sales by 2019, Frisk said at the company’s investor day last month.

Craig Hodges, a spokesman for VF, confirmed that Frisk’s last day at the company is today. The company hasn’t announced a replacement for Frisk’s position as coalition president, he said. Earlier this month, Stewart Whitney became the president of the Timberland brand.

“We’re disappointed to see Patrik go, he’s been a great leader, he’s got great vision, and he was very instrumental in the successful turnaround of the Timberland brand,” Hodges said. “But we respect his decision and we wish him nothing but the best.”

VF shares rose 0.4 percent to $66.50 at the close of trading in New York. The stock has climbed 6.7 percent so far this year, outperforming the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 6.3 percent gain.

Custom Shoes

When VF acquired the brand, Timberland had an urban and utilitarian following. After extensive customer research, the company changed the design and fit of the products and revamped its stores and website. Customers can even design their own shoes online or at a kiosk in the stores.

“It was something you wanted to love, but you were like, ‘Oh my God, I’ll never be caught in that,’” Bridget Weishaar, a Chicago-based analyst at Morningstar Investment Service, said in an interview earlier this week. “Now the rugged outdoor look plays well in the casual environment.”

Timberland is doing 88 percent of its business at full price this year, Ryan Shadrin, vice president of retail and digital commerce, said at the investor presentation. The brand plans to achieve $1.7 billion in revenue this year. Last quarter, Timberland revenues grew 15 percent, VF said in an Oct. 20 statement.

Frisk’s departure “is a definite loss for VF Corp.,” Weishaar said yesterday in an e-mail. “But in terms of the company’s future, they have a very deep bench of leadership with many managers having experience with multiple brands, so any leadership transitions should be pretty seamless.”