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Levi’s Taps New Asia President

Carlsberg alumnus Roy Bagattini to take reins in region in June.

Levi Strauss & Co. said Wednesday it has tapped a new head for its Asia-Pacific operations, poaching a manager from brewing company Carlsberg.

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Levi’s said Roy Bagattini will assume the role of executive vice president and president of commercial operations for Asia-Pacific in June. He will be based in Singapore.

Bagattini replaces Aaron Boey, who left the company on Nov. 25. Levi’s hadn’t previously disclosed Boey’s departure. During his tenure, Levi’s launched its Denizen brand targeting younger consumers in China and other Asian markets. In 2010, Levi’s staged a major runway show for the brand in Shanghai and set an ambitious expansion target to open some 50 stores by the end of the year. However, last year the company opted to pull the plug on the brand in Asia and focus on growing its core Levi’s brand instead while moving forward with Denizen in the U.S., where it is carried exclusively in Target stores.

Bagattini has more than 20 years of experience in the consumer goods and beverage industries, Levi’s said. Most recently, he was senior vice president for Asia and Africa at Carlsberg. Before his four years at Carlsberg, he worked for another brewing giant, SABMiller plc, for 18 years in a variety of roles in countries including Russia, China and India.

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This appointment is the latest example of how Chip Bergh, who became president and chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. in the fall of 2011, has been setting up a fresh management team for the company.

Bergh commented, “Having led the commercial operations behind some of the largest beverage companies, Roy has extensive experience in developing and implementing growth strategies for brands in intensively competitive environments. His combination of operational expertise and understanding of emerging markets in Asia will make him a strong addition to our leadership team at Levi Strauss & Co.”

Andrew Martin, who has served as Levi’s interim leader for Asia-Pacific since October 2012, will resume his role as vice president of finance for Asia-Pacific commercial operations when Bagattini joins the company in June.

Last year, Levi’s Asia-Pacific operating profit declined 38.2 percent, to $66.8 million, on a 13.1 percent revenue decline to $757.7 million as the company absorbed weak wholesale conditions, unfavorable currency fluctuation and the effects of the Denizen closure. The region in 2012 was responsible for 16.4 percent of corporate revenues of $4.61 billion and 9.9 percent of total regional operating income of $676.7 million.