SmartWool – the world’s leading snow, outdoor, and active lifestyle Merino sock and apparel company – has relocated its European headquarters from the UK to the VF Corporation (VFC) Europe office in Lugano, Switzerland.
“Joining VFC’s Outdoor and Action Sports coalition in Lugano is good for business and good for our customers,” says Chris Hahn, general manager, SmartWool International. “The market-facing changes are very small as we have not made any changes to any of our selling agencies or distributors. Our customer service team also remains in the UK.”
Chris Hahn has relocated to Lugano with his family, providing leadership continuity to the brand after almost five years heading SmartWool Europe and nine years with SmartWool in total. In addition, SmartWool’s European team has added two more industry veterans to the sales and marketing force – Udo Heyder and Jennifer Howland.
Heyder moves to SmartWool from The North Face where he successfully built the business in Germany and Central Europe for the last nine years as International Area Manager. “Udo embodies SmartWool’s outdoor passion and his track record of steep growth during the recent global economic downturn is truly remarkable,” adds Hahn. “SmartWool is looking forward to being Udo’s next success story.”
Howland comes to Lugano from SmartWool’s global headquarters in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and will lead SmartWool Europe’s marketing initiatives. With strong expertise in brand marketing and retail presentation, Howland – who was previously Global Creative Director – has been very connected to SmartWool Europe through large-scale shop-in-shop programs as well as annual tradeshow merchandising across the EU. Her focus will be to amplify the SmartWool voice in Europe and also drive consistency at retail.
SmartWool’s global marketing efforts gain further momentum through the recent appointments of Molly Cuffe and Steve Metcalf to Global Creative Director and Senior Global Communications Manager, respectively. Cuffe moves into this creative position after six years with SmartWool in the Global Communications role – managing public relations, social media, and media strategy. Metcalf takes over for Cuffe on the communications front, bringing a unique perspective to the position as a former magazine editor (Powder, Snowboarder) and marketing professional (Aspen/Snowmass, K2 Snowboarding, Backbone Media).
“This announcement is about aligning for success on a truly global scale,” says Mark Satkiewicz, President of SmartWool. “We have incredible market share opportunities and an ongoing investment in great people will keep our market goals on track. Welcome to Udo and Steve and congrats to Jen and Molly on two well-deserved promotions.”
ABOUT SMARTWOOL: Based in Steamboat Springs, CO, SmartWool® is an apparel brand whose products are inspired by living and playing in the mountains. The company offers year-round apparel for an active life lived in unpredictable mountain climates. SmartWool® products are created to get the most out of the inherent benefits of Merino wool while delivering extraordinary comfort through intelligent and thoughtful products, allowing mountain athletes to do what they love to do longer. For information on the full range of SmartWool® products or to find a dealer near you, please log onto SmartWool’s award-winning website: www.SmartWool.com. SmartWool LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of VF Corporation.