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The North Face Appoints 16-Year Nike Veteran Nicole Otto as Next Global Brand President

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There’s a leadership change at The North Face.

VF Corp. announced today the appointment of Nicole Otto to the global brand president role at The North Face, effective June. Otto will succeed Steve Murray, who is set to retire and return to the UK.

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Otto, according to VF Corp., will report to chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle, and will also serve on the company’s executive leadership team.

“Nicole is the right leader who brings the right capabilities to The North Face brand at the right time,” Rendle said in a statement. “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.”

Before assuming this role at The North Face, Otto spent 16 years at Nike, most recently serving at the athletic giant’s VP of Nike Direct North America, a position she held from 2018 to May 2021. At Nike, according to a VF statement, Otto oversaw its digital experiences and both inline and factory stores in North America, and was responsible for integrating its physical and digital retail ecosystem to deliver online-to-offline services and experiences.

Prior to Nike, Otto worked in information technology at Charles Schwab in San Francisco.

“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,” Otto said via statement. “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.”

Otto will replace Murray, the current global brand president at The North Face, who assumed the role in September 2020. Murray has also served as EVP and group president for VF’s Americas region, president of VF’s Action Sports Coalition and global brand president of Vans.

“We appointed Steve to lead The North Face brand knowing that his retirement was on the horizon but also recognizing that we could leverage his incredible 30-plus years of industry experience to strengthen the brand’s proposition with consumers,” Rendle said via statement. “During his tenure, Steve further enhanced the brand’s outdoor credentials; turbo charged its apparel, accessories, and equipment product engines; introduced innovative technologies such as Futurelight; built a successful footwear business; and refined its channel and segmentation strategies, among many other accomplishments. Steve will leave The North Face brand in an incredibly strong position for Nicole to build on as she advances our direct-to-consumer and digital transformation.”