Changes at the top as Timberland sale is completed



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Timberland as an independent company is no more, and CEO Jeff Swartz will no longer run what was a family business for six decades.The new Timberland corporation is a unit of VF Corp. and will be run by Patrik Frisk, a VF executive based in Europe who oversaw sales of the company's JanSport, The North Face, Reef and Vans brands.Timberland's chief financial officer, Carrie Teffner, and general counsel, Danette Wineberg, will be stepping down this month, VF said.These were the major changes announced Tuesday, the day Greensboro, N.C.-based outdoor apparel giant completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of Timberland. Timberland shareholders will get receive $43 a share and the aforementioned departing executives will receive about $9 million in severance in addition to the remuneration for the stock they held.VF said it expects Timberland to wind up with some $700 million in earnings this year, or an extra quarter a share after expenses.Frisk, 48, who worked for VF Corp. for eight years year, has been serving since 2009 as president of VF Outdoor and Action Sports EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.In taking over at Timberland, Frisk will run a company that has been controlled by the Swartz family ever since shoemaker Nathan Swartz acquired the Abington Shoe Company in Massachusetts back in 1952. In 1973, the company changed its name to Timberland, after its popular waterproof boot made with injection molding technology. Jeffery Swartz took over the helm from his father Sidney in 1988. While the company went public, the Swartz family always maintained control of the voting shares, so when the deal was struck with VF Corporation, there was no need for a shareholders to approve the sale. (The deal had been challenged in court in several class action suits.)VF has been upbeat on the Timberland brand, promising to promote and expand it and maintain it the Stratham headquarters. Swartz, who called the deal "bittersweet" when it was announced back in June, will be leaving Timberland "to pursue other interests," according to the VF release."Today marks the beginning of a very exciting chapter for Timberland," said Swartz, according to the release. "I am confident that while our ownership structure has changed, what makes Timberland unique and special will not. VF has an enviable track record of allowing its brands to execute their distinct strategic visions."Swartz and his family should get about half billion dollars for their stock, and Jeffrey Swartz himself will get at least $7 million as part of change-of-control package.The company announced that three Timberland executives would continue, at least for the time being. Richard O'Rourke will still be the senior vice president for Timberland in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Mark Satikiewicz will continue to be president of Smartwool, an apparel subsidiary based in Colorado that Timberland acquired in 1995. Finally, Carden Welsh, Timberland's former chief administrative officer, will stay through December as an executive adviser to Frisk and Steve Rendle, VF's group president of Outdoor & Action Sports Americas. -- BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

 

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