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Shuffle Board: New CEOs at True Religion and DL1961, Nike Names First Digital Chief


True Religion

True Religion’s chairman, Gene Davis, and interim CEO Chelsea Grayson said this week that Farla Efros, a consultant to the company, will assume the role of interim CEO. Grayson is resigning to pursue other opportunities.

As president of HRC Retail Advisory, a leading North American retail consulting firm, Efros has worked closely with True Religion’s leadership team in recent months. Efros has more than 20 years of experience working with retailers and CPG companies, including almost 10 years at HRC Retail Advisory and its predecessor firms. She will continue in her capacity as president at HRC Retail Advisory while serving as True Religion’s interim CEO.

True Religion, a streetwear and premium denim brand based in Los Angeles, is conducting a search for a permanent CEO to lead it in pursuing its significant opportunities in streetwear, as the True Religion brand continues to celebrate the values of diversity, freedom, and authenticity. The company said it has experienced positive comps and trends this year in direct-to-consumer and e-commerce sales, and that it’s seeing continued growth in international markets, including the U.K., Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.


Premium New York denim brand DL1961 appointed Zahra Ahmed as CEO.

Ahmed got her start in denim through the family business, ADM Denim, founded in 1990 by her parents, Faisal and Maliha Ahmed. In 2008, ADM launched DL1961, founded on Lycra XFit technology.

Ahmed replaces her mother, Maliha, as CEO. Most recently, Ahmed oversaw international sales and marketing at the company as the vice president of marketing and e-commerce.


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Nike Inc. announced that Ratnakar Lavu will become the company’s first global chief digital information officer, effective June 17.

Lavu, who will report to Eric Sprunk, Nike’s chief operating officer, will lead all of Nike’s global technology functions across the enterprise, with responsibility for accelerating new digital capabilities for Nike.

Lavu was most recently chief technology and information officer at Kohl’s, where he led all of IT, digital and consumer technology. Prior to joining Kohl’s, Lavu was chief technology officer at Redbox.


J.C. Penney

J.C Penney Co. named Victor Ejarque Lopez as senior vice president and general merchandise manager for women’s apparel, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchandising officer.

Ejarque Lopez, who will join the company on June 10, will be responsible for overseeing and developing all of the retailer’s women’s apparel merchandising strategies and programs.

Most recently, Ejarque Lopez was at Guess Inc., where he served as vice president and general merchandise manager of global operations, overseeing the company’s merchandising, buying, planning, allocation, supply chain and logistics. Prior to Guess, he was vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s apparel and accessories for Kmart, part of Sears Holdings. Ejarque Lopez also spent 13 years with Stradivarius, an Inditex-owned fashion brand.


CBRE named retail industry expert Melina Cordero as the leader of its retail capital markets business for the Americas, effective July 1.

Based in Washington, D.C., Cordero will lead the company’s Capital Markets’ team of more than 130 retail professionals who specialize in the sale, debt and structured finance placement assistance, and recapitalization of retail properties in the Americas.

Cordero most recently held the position of global head of Retail Research at CBRE, working closely with retail professionals and business-line leaders to generate in-depth analysis on the latest trends and influences shaping the retail and shopping-center industries. In her new role, she will report to Chris Ludeman, global president of Capital Markets.



Swiss textile company HeiQ named new CEOs to head newly established subsidiaries in both China and Taiwan to serve customers in the region more closely and provide rapid support.

HeiQ appointed Celine Huang as CEO HeiQ Greater China and Ming Wen Liang as CEO for HeiQ Taiwan. She has a chemical engineering degree in dyeing and finishing from China Textile University and has worked in Australia and China in senior management positions. Huang will lead the group’s Greater China business from the newly created Shanghai office.

Liang will manage mill relations, technical support and distribution at HeiQ Taiwan. She brings experience in textile and garment production supply chain. Liang, who holds a Bachelor of International Trade from the National Taipei University of Business in Taiwan, will be based in the new office in Taipei.

Founded in 2005 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, HeiQ specializes in durable and high-performance textile technologies.

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, a developer of spider silk-based fibers, promoted Dr. Trevor Kane to the position of chief scientist.

The company noted Kane’s successes in creating new transgenics in the lab and expanding its intellectual property portfolio with several new provisional patent applications that mark a significant milestone and advancement in Kraig Labs mission to produce and commercialize eco-friendly materials that exceed the performance and strength of native spider silk.

The company has achieved a series of scientific breakthroughs in the area of spider silk technology with implications for the global textile industry.

Kemin Textile

Kemin Industries appointed Kimberly Nelson, who helped lead the acquisition of Garmon Chemicals by Kemin, as president of the Kemin Textile Auxiliaries business unit, effective July 1.

Nelson will be taking over as president of Garmon Chemicals when the company’s founder, Maurizio Cappellini, retires. For more than 35 years, Cappellini led Garmon Chemicals, a specialist in denim finishing.

Garmon Chemicals was acquired in January 2018 after Nelson, a third-generation member of the family-owned Kemin, presented the business opportunity of textile auxiliaries. Since the acquisition, Nelson has served as general manager of Kemin Textile Auxiliaries in India.

Before joining Kemin, Nelson worked in marketing in Hong Kong for five years. She will be based in San Marino, Brazil.

Kemin Textiles Auxiliaries, through the brand Garmon Chemicals, is a manufacturer and marketer of chemical solutions for the denim and apparel industry. With manufacturing facilities in San Marino, Brazil, China, India and Turkey, the company operates in more than 30 countries through a commercial network of subsidiaries and agents.


Material manufacturer Covestro chose a chief commercial officer (CCO), the last position to be filled on its management board, by appointing Sucheta Govil for the position.

By Aug. 1, Govil will take over from Dr. Markus Steilemann, who has been CCO on top of his role as CEO. Govil will be responsible for the three business segments: polyurethanes, polycarbonates and coatings, adhesives and specialties. Additionally, she will assume board responsibility for the new central marketing, as well as innovation management and commercial services and supply chain centers in the three major regions.

Govil has been working as a non-executive director at Eurocell plc in London, a leading supplier of building products, since Oct. 1, 2018. Before that, she held leading marketing roles at the Life Sciences and Material Sciences company DSM in the Netherlands, and at Akzo Nobel Decorative Paints in the U.K.

With 2018 sales of 14.6 billion euros ($16.41 billion), Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in areas that include textiles, automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and health.



UPS appointed Charlene Thomas as chief human resources officer, effective July 1, succeeding Teri McClure, who has retired.

Thomas joins the UPS Management Committee and the company’s senior-most leadership group, and will report to UPS chairman and CEO David Abney.

McClure has been with UPS for nearly 25 years, most recently as chief human resources officer and senior vice president of labor relations.