VF Corporation on Monday announced that Benno Dorer, lead independent director of the VF board of directors, has been named interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, in response to CEO Steve Rendle’s decision to step down. Richard Carucci, a director on the board since 2009, will serve as interim chairman of the board.
“The board thanks Steve Rendle for his many contributions and leadership during his nearly six years as CEO and nearly 25 years with VF,” Dorer said. “Steve’s commitment to the business, passion for building strong brands and focus on culture have helped VF evolve our portfolio of strong active-lifestyle brands and establish VF as a purpose-led company. We wish Steve well in his future endeavors.”
Dorer’s appointment follows Rendle’s decision to retire from his position as chairman, president and CEO. The company has commenced a search for a permanent chief executive officer and has retained a leading executive search firm to support its evaluation of internal and external candidates.
“It has been an honor to lead VF as CEO over the last five years,” Rendle said. “I depart with the deepest gratitude for the extremely talented and dedicated global team at VF. I remain as confident as ever in VF’s tremendous potential and look forward to watching the company’s continued success.”
VF notably acquired streetwear brand Supreme for $2.1 billion in late 2020 under Rendle’s reign. The executive also expanded VF’s workwear portfolio by acquiring chief competitor Williamson-Dickie in 2017 for $820 million.
Dorer joined the VF board in 2017 and has served as the lead independent director since 2021. He is a member of the board of directors of Origin Materials, Inc. He served as executive chair of the board of The Clorox Company from September 2020 to February 2021, CEO of Clorox from November 2014 to September 2020 and chairman of the board of Clorox from August 2016 to September 2020. Before becoming CEO, Dorer served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Clorox from January 2013 through November 2014, and in various senior vice president and general manager roles before that. Before joining Clorox in 2005, he worked for The Procter & Gamble Company in various marketing and sales roles in the U.S. and Europe since 1990.
“VF has iconic brands in attractive growth categories, deep relationships with consumers and customers, and significant competitive advantages as a portfolio company,” Dorer said. “I look forward to working closely with the board and VF’s executive leadership team to drive profitable growth across our portfolio while the Bboard identifies the right leader for the company’s next chapter.”
The Denver company is revising its financial year 2023 outlook largely to reflect the impact of weaker than anticipated consumer demand across its categories, primarily in North America, resulting in a more elevated-than-expected promotional environment and order cancellations in the wholesale channel to manage trade inventories. Also impacting the outlook, but to a lesser degree, are the higher-than-expected impacts from inflation on consumer discretionary spending in Europe and ongoing COVID-19-related disruption in China. Of note, the Timberland parent recently announced cuts affecting 600 jobs.
VF has struggled to get popular skate shoe brand Vans back on track, though it rehired a longtime exec to stimulate sales and growth at the label that’s losing some of its luster with the Gen Z crowd.
The apparel giant now expects total revenue growth in the second half of fiscal year 2023 to be modestly lower than previously outlined, with revenue for the full year expected to increase by 3 percent to 4 percent in constant dollars (excluding the impact of translating foreign currencies into U.S. dollars), compared to the previous guidance of up 5 percent to 6 percent in constant dollars. The promotional environment, primarily in North America, and SG&A deleverage from lower volumes are expected to impact profitability in the near term. Adjusted diluted EPS for the full year is now expected to be $2.00 to $2.20, versus $3.18 in the prior year and compared to the previous outlook of $2.40 to $2.50. Adjusted amounts exclude transaction and deal related activities, costs related to specified strategic business decisions, noncash impairment charges, and a pension settlement charge.