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Thread Nabs Former Under Armour Exec to Fuel Growth

Thread, the start-up turning waste into wearables, has its eye on growth and just enlisted a former Under Armour executive to help it get there.

Bill Besselman, previously vice president of Connected Fitness strategy and integration at Under Armour, will join the Pittsburgh-based company as executive vice president.

“Bill is a proven operator and disruptor. He brings world-class experience to an already great team and will have an immediate and profound impact on Thread’s growth,” Thread founder and CEO Ian Rosenberger said. “He shares our conviction that retail is not innovative enough in meeting the needs of the 21st century customer, and he’s here to help us build Thread into the preeminent purpose-driven brand in the industry.”

Before joining Under Armour, Besselman served as senior vice president of merchandise planning and allocation at corporate strategy at American Eagle and held strategic and operational roles across retail and consumer goods at McKinsey & Co.

Born out of a desire to find an innovative solution to the age-old problems of poverty and waste, Thread uses post-consumer discarded plastic to make its sustainable fabric.

The company employs workers in the poorest communities of Haiti and Honduras, enlisting them to collect tossed plastic products that are then sorted, sold to Haiti Recycling, washed and shredded before heading off to U.S. production facilities to be spun into synthetic fiber to make Thread Ground to Good fabric.

The company has focused on making most-requested fabrics: jersey, canvas, denim, fabric for shirting and bottom-weight fabric.

Thread already announced this summer that Timberland bags and footwear using its Ground to Good fabric will be in stores for Spring 2017 and that it has started shipping smaller fabric quantities to smaller manufacturers.

Thread says Besselman’s appointment will help the team meet the increasing demand for Ground to Good materials and products.

“The greatest brands are those that find a way to deliver emotional value above and beyond great product and do it within a large commercial market,” Besselman said. “By working with the world’s best brands to make the most connected apparel and footwear in history, we’re transforming an industry to truly connect people with the products they wear.”