Karen Murray Promoted at VF

VF Corp. has tapped one of its own, Karen Murray, to serve as president of its sportswear coalition.

VF Corp. has tapped one of its own, Karen Murray, to serve as president of its sportswear coalition.

This story first appeared in the June 20, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

With this promotion, Murray, who joined VF last September as president of the Nautica Men’s Sportswear and Nautica Jeans Co. business, will oversee both the Nautica and Kipling businesses in the U.S.

VF has yet to name a replacement for Murray in her former post and has not pinpointed when that might happen, according to a company spokeswoman.

Murray was not available for comment Thursday. She assumes a post vacated by Denise Seegal, who left the firm in May. Seegal exited less than a month after VF revealed plans to close Nautica’s women’s sportswear business. At that time, sources speculated Murray would be Seegal’s likely successor.

VF’s sportswear coalition also includes the John Varvatos business, which is led by Varvatos, who reports to Eric Wiseman, president and chief executive officer, the spokeswoman said.

Murray and Seegal worked together at Liz Claiborne. Prior to joining VF, Murray logged 15 years at Liz Claiborne, most recently as group president for men’s wear, midtier, international alliances and licensing.

At VF, Murray reports to Wiseman. On Thursday, Wiseman touched upon her rapid ascension: “A proven leader with a track record of success in men’s sportswear, Karen has demonstrated exceptional leadership since joining VF and has brought fresh perspectives and energy to the business. I have great confidence in the improvements Karen’s team is making in Nautica sportswear, and in her ability to execute our long-term vision for the coalition.”

While there will be the typical exchange of ideas between Murray’s department and VF’s newly formed contemporary brand coalition, she will not be responsible for the latter. Earlier this month, the Greensboro, N.C.-based manufacturing giant acquired one-third of the capital stock of Mo Industries Holdings Inc., owner of the Splendid and Ella Moss women’s labels. VF’s contemporary brand coalition was founded last July when the company acquired premium denim brand Seven For All Mankind and women’s active lifestyle company Lucy Activewear for an estimated $885 million.