In another major hiring move from new president Michelle Gass, Levi Strauss & Co. has hired Kenny Mitchell as its next chief marketing officer. Currently CMO at Snap, Mitchell has also held key creative roles at McDonald’s and PepsiCo’s Gatorade.
He joins a new team at Levi’s. Michelle Gass, who had been the chief executive officer at Kohl’s, joined as president in November. The succession plan calls for her to become chief executive officer, replacing Chip Bergh, within 18 months.
Mitchell, who replaces Karen Riley-Grant, will report to Gass.
In January, Gass announced Jason Gowans as senior vice president and chief digital officer, a new role in the company, from a similar post at Nordstrom.
“Kenny is widely recognized as an innovative marketing leader and talent builder, with an impressive track record of growing global brands and pioneering digital marketing strategies to accelerate value creation, positioning us for long-term growth and operational success," said Gass in the announcement,
Much of the company’s current marketing focuses on big-deal birthdays, including a campaign celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 501 jeans and the brand’s 170th year.
Mitchell joins as the denim giant continues to thread its way through a complex apparel landscape, building brand awareness that increases demand in both its wholesale and DTC channels.
Earlier this month, the San Francisco-based company posted sales and profits ahead of Wall Street expectations. It also said it had become the market-share leader for the all-important 18- to 30-year-old market.
With quarterly sales rising 6% to $1.7 billion, it notched a 12% gain in D2C sales, which accounted for 42% of those revenues.
While that’s all good news, the company said its inventory is up, signaling increased promotions and markdowns ahead.
“We think signs of softer retail sales during March are worth monitoring since any reduction in consumer spending could lead to greater discounting and/or longer time needed to normalize inventory,” writes Baird analyst Jonathan Komp in a report this week on the apparel sector. “That could challenge the consensus view of a margin-driven earnings recovery for many companies.”