Levi’s welcomes Michelle Gass as its new CEO and expands its leadership team

Levi Strauss & Co., the iconic denim brand, has officially appointed Michelle Gass as its new president and CEO, as announced in December. Gass succeeds Chip Bergh, who led the company for more than 12 years. Gass also revealed that she has added two new members to the executive leadership team, Kenny Mitchell and Dawn Vitale, who will oversee the marketing and merchandising functions respectively.

Michelle Gass
Michelle Gass

Michelle Gass: A seasoned retail and omnichannel leader

Gass brings to Levi’s a wealth of experience in the retail and omnichannel sector, having worked for brands like Starbucks, Gap and Kohl’s. She joined Levi’s in 2023 as the president of global direct-to-consumer (DTC), where she was responsible for driving the growth of the company’s e-commerce and brick-and-mortar channels. She also led the acquisition of Beyond Yoga, a premium athleisure brand, in 2021.

Gass said that she was thrilled and honored to guide Levi’s into its next era of growth, and that she had a unique opportunity to immerse herself in the business and meet the exceptional teams around the world. She also said that she had a strategic vision focused on accelerating international growth, positioning the Levi’s brand as a head-to-toe denim lifestyle apparel business and transitioning the company’s operating model to a DTC-first organization.

Kenny Mitchell and Dawn Vitale: Two new additions to the executive leadership team

Gass announced that she has elevated Kenny Mitchell, the chief marketing officer of the Levi’s brand, and Dawn Vitale, the newly promoted chief merchandising officer, to the executive leadership team, which is responsible for setting the company’s overall direction and overseeing all major strategic, financial and operational decisions.

Mitchell joined Levi’s in 2023 from Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, where he served as the chief marketing officer and led the growth of the platform’s global community, advertising base and developer partners. He has more than 20 years of global brand-building experience, having worked for brands like McDonald’s, Gatorade and NASCAR.

Vitale is an accomplished senior merchandising executive with more than 20 years of experience in apparel category development and market expansion across international wholesale and retail channels. She joined Levi’s in 2018 as the vice president of global merchandising for the Levi’s brand, and was instrumental in driving the brand’s product innovation and assortment strategy.

Gass said that the addition of Mitchell and Vitale, as well as Nancy Green, the new CEO of Beyond Yoga, brings decades more of proven retail and consumer obsession to an already strong executive leadership team. She said that she was confident that they had the right executive team and company strategies to accelerate their pivot to become a high-performing, DTC-first company.

Levi’s plans to hire a new president and chief commercial officer

Gass also said that the company plans to hire a new president and chief commercial officer, who will join the executive leadership team and be responsible for shaping the global commercial strategy and accelerating growth and profitability for the Levi’s brand. She said that this role will be critical to drive the brand’s global expansion and relevance, especially in key markets like China, India and Europe.

The company said that it will conduct a comprehensive search for this role, and that it will consider both internal and external candidates.

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