Brands

The North Face appoints first female global brand president

Nicole Otto will step into the role in June, taking over from Steve Murray.


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Nicole Otto, a former Nike executive, will take the helm at The North Face beginning in June 2022, succeeding Steve Murray, who will retire, and reporting to VF CEO Steve Rendle. Otto is the first female to hold this leadership role at The North Face.

Read more: In its 2020 Inclusion and Diversity Annual Profile, VF reported that overall representation of women at the company has been over 50 percent since 2015 and that 2020 saw an increase of women at the director level and above from 35 to 38 percent from the previous period.

Otto has spent the last 16 years at Nike, where she served as vice president of Nike Direct North America, overseeing Nike’s North American inline and factory stores as well as the company’s digital experiences. During that time, Otto focused on forging deep connections with consumers by integrating the company’s physical and digital retail ecosystem to deliver online-to-offline services and experiences.

Under her leadership, Nike expanded its Nike Live concept into the New York City and Los Angeles markets; she also grew Nike’s retail presence across the U.S. The Nike Live concept is built around membership-driven boutiques centered on local consumer data and customized service, which includes rotating merchandise, member perks, and exclusive experiences.

“Nicole is the right leader who brings the right capabilities to The North Face brand at the right time,” said Rendle. “Her global industry experience and deep understanding of consumer engagement strategies, through both physical retail and digital commerce, make her ideally suited to take the helm of this iconic brand and accelerate growth through even more compelling direct connections with consumers worldwide. Nicole is a proven innovator and future-focused leader who will further strengthen The North Face brand’s exceptional global executive team. We’re excited to welcome her to the VF family.”

Steve Murray, the current global brand president, took the helm from Arne Ahrens in October 2020. Murray’s planned retirement will start in June 2022; he will be moving back to the U.K. 

“Few brands in the world have earned truly iconic status like The North Face, and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the brand at this time,” said Otto. “I look forward to working closely with The North Face leadership team in addition to VF leadership to drive the next phase of growth for this beloved global brand and all that it represents.”