Robert Skinner to Relocate to China

The former Kellwood Co. chief has been promoted to managing director of Smart Apparel and will relocate to company headquarters in Hong Kong in January.

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Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 10/11/2012

Robert C. Skinner Jr. will be making the move to Hong Kong.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The former Kellwood Co. chief, who has been chief executive officer of Smart Shirts Ltd.’s U.S. division, Smart Apparel, since 2009, has been promoted to managing director of the corporation and will relocate to company headquarters in Hong Kong in January.

Skinner said his promotion is “a continuation of the plan our chairman, Lei Xu, started in June 2011 to integrate our business and create a seamless business organization.” He said Smart is in the process of merging several separate businesses into one as it seeks to grow sales. Smart has a sales volume of $800 million and the U.S. apparel component of the business is $200 million. Smart is a vertical producer of cotton apparel and operates in the U.S., its largest market, as well as China, Japan and Europe. In the U.S., it produces private label apparel for retailers and brands including Ralph Lauren, Jos. A. Bank, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, Skinner said.

He will continue to run the U.S. market and will keep an office in the States, he said. Skinner will continue to report to Xu.

“We are very pleased to have someone with Bob’s deep industry knowledge and relationships take the helm of Smart Shirts as we continue the company legacy of excellence and work to build Smart Shirts into the premier original design manufacturer in the world,” said Xu.

Smart Apparel was owned by Kellwood from 1982 until 2008, when it was sold to Youngor Group. Youngor continues to own a stake in the business, along with Smart Apparel management and Itochu Corp. in Japan.

Skinner, a 36-year industry veteran, joined Kellwood as president of its men’s division in 2000 and served as chairman, president and ceo from 2006 to 2008. He started his career at Oxford Industries Inc., where he spent 24 years, rising to corporate vice president and president of the Oxford Shirt Group.