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Kontoor Brands Appoints New EVP of Supply Chain

The parent company of Wrangler and Lee has a new leader overseeing its global supply chain.

Kontoor Brands Inc. announced Tuesday that Karen Smith, who currently serves as the company’s vice president of global supply chain operations, will assume the role of executive vice president of supply chain, effective May 1.

Smith will have responsibility for all aspects of supply chain management including global operations, planning, global manufacturing and sourcing, responsible sourcing, product quality and stewardship, customer service, distribution and logistics and master data governance. She will also have responsibility for all components of the company’s supply chain strategy, including trade-related functions and operations.

Prior to her current role at Kontoor, Smith held several supply chain positions for VF Corporation, the company Kontoor separated from in 2019. She also spent nine years at Jockey International, where she rose to the level of vice president of operations.

In her new role, Smith will report to Kontoor’s president and CEO Scott Baxter. “Karen brings extensive experience across all aspects of responsible and efficient supply chain management,” Baxter said. “More importantly, she’s a proven leader with a talent for building and motivating teams along with a deep commitment to Kontoor’s culture. She’s a perfect fit for this critical role.”

Knowledge in building global and domestic supply chains is key for this role. Kontoor has 10 owned and operated manufacturing facilities and contract with more than 200 supplier factories from around the world. The company reports that it produces 120 million units of apparel a year—38 percent of which is procured from the Americas.

Smith succeeds Randy Fortenberry, who has announced his intent to retire at the end of April 2021 after more than 30 years of serving VF and Kontoor’s supply chain organizations.

“The fact that global supply chain management has been a true competitive differentiator for our brands over the years is in large part a tribute to Randy’s vision and leadership,” said Baxter. “He’s made huge contributions to our business and success, and we wish him and his family all the best in the years to come.”