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Icebreaker Names Lisa Thompson as President of United States Operations
– Justin Watkins Named US Sales Manager, Deb Boswell becomes first GM of Running, Molly King is new US Marketing Manager –
Portland, Oregon, USA and Wellington, New Zealand (16 June, 2010) â€“ Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, today announced that Lisa Thompson, a Kiwi and one of its longest-tenured employees, has been promoted to president of Icebreaker United States operations, effective immediately. The company is on the move in the US, as it plans to open its first store in New York City this fall, and having been recently featured in Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
Thompson became vice president of sales for the US in January 2010, moving with her family from Christchurch, New Zealand to Portland, Oregon. Three weeks into her new position, the former US president, Russ Hopcus, announced his departure.
â€œLisa knows Icebreaker better than almost anyone, and she’s one of the reasons the company has been so successful this past decade,â€ said Tony Balfour, general manager for global markets. â€œWe are excited to see where she takes the US market.â€
â€œI’m super excited about the opportunities here â€“ the potential is endless,â€ said Thompson. â€œWe have a number of brilliant and fun partnerships taking shape in the outdoor specialty business and I know we can surprise them with great results. The upcoming launch of our GT Run and Bike collections to retailers this month will further enhance our reach in 2011 with sports enthusiasts looking for fantastic, natural performance apparel.â€
Thompson has risen steadily through the Icebreaker ranks since starting with the company in 1999, a few months before her 21st birthday, as receptionist and office manager. She was general manager of Icebreaker’s New Zealand market for six years, and also worked as Australian market and account manager.
Replacing Thompson as US sales manager is Justin Watkins. Watkins has been with Icebreaker since 2004, when he joined as regional account manager in New Zealand. He moved to US as brand ambassador in 2005. In 2007 Watkins moved to Portland, Oregon and, as retail operations manager, opened Icebreaker’s first Touch_Lab retail store. In 2008 he became key account manager
â€œJustin landed in the US way back in August 2005, the hot Kiwi boy with the cute accent, destined to wind up the US retailers with his unique New Zealand style,â€ said Thompson. â€œHe has a deep understanding of the market here, where we have been and what we need to do to achieve results. He has developed meaningful relationships with our retailers and the sales team and I am stoked to have him on the leadership team.â€
Icebreaker also named Deb Boswell to the new role of general manager â€“ run reporting to Balfour. â€œRun is our first entry into the potentially massive general sports categories and early signs are encouraging â€“ giving us the confidence to establish this leadership role to accelerate our success. In many ways she has been the unofficial GM of running in the States for the last 18 months and has driven our early success with the likes of key running accounts like Fleet Feet.â€
Boswell was formerly director of marketing for Icebreaker North America. A Kiwi and an avid runner, Boswell founded her own marketing agency in New York City in 2002. Icebreaker launched its first GT running apparel line last month for its spring/summer 2011 season.
Icebreaker also announced the appointment of Molly King as US marketing manager, reporting to Thompson. King has been with Icebreaker for three years, originally starting in the Sun Valley office. She has been responsible for our in-season marketing, key account and Touch_Lab marketing and communications. King formerly was director of Marketing for Bravo Entertainment, the largest independent concert promoter in the Pacific Northwest and The Thunder Mountain Line, a scenic excursion train in the mountains of Idaho.
Commented Thompson: â€œMolly is famous for a few things at Icebreaker, her exceptional DJ skills and ability to bring something other than 80’s tunes to the Portland office, her really bad attempts at the New Zealand accent (which sounds more like fair dinkum Aussie). In all seriousness, Molly is a highly creative, results oriented marketer and we’re excited for her leadership in the US.â€
Finally, Icebreaker also has appointed three new account members to their sales team. Rebecca Lum will cover the southeast territory, Scottie McElroy the southern territory, and Nick Quesnel the mid-Atlantic territory.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino fiber layering system for the outdoors. It was also the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it began in 1997. There are now 10 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.
Icebreaker is sold in more than 2,000 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 120 high country stations in the country’s Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature’s work with human technology and design. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008 the company launched â€œIcebreaker Baacode,â€ a pioneering supply chain transparency and traceability program. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.