PARIS — Levi Strauss & Co. has tapped a new European president, WWD has learned.

Armin Broger, currently chief executive officer for Seven For All Mankind in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has been selected to take Levi’s top spot in Europe, which has been vacant for almost a year.

The 45-year-old Italian, who is noted for sharp managerial skills and a savvy, energetic business sense, could not be reached for comment.

“Armin is an exceptional brand builder and apparel executive with a reputation for leading successful operational turnarounds,” said John Anderson, Levi’s ceo. “He knows what it takes to be successful in the European markets and will be an invaluable partner in continuing the transformation of our business there.”

Levi’s top job in Europe has been vacant since last February, when the denim company’s previous European chief Paul Mason became chief executive of U.K. supermarket chain Somerfield. John Anderson, who replaced Phil Marineau as Levi’s global ceo last year, has been overseeing the European operations in the interim.

Europe has been a vital but tricky market for Levi’s. Sales in the region fell 0.9 percent to $215.4 million in the third quarter of last year, Levi’s said. Earlier in the year, the company said it would stop selling the value Signature brand in Europe, which had been distributed in hypermarkets like Carrefour, because it did not offer enough expansion opportunities.

The core Levi’s brand has also been challenged by robust competition in the designer denim category. In the past, Levi’s has looked to Europe to test its more fashion-forward products such as Engineered jeans.

Part of Broger’s task will certainly be to shore up the key Levi’s brand, which represents 90 percent of the region’s business, while also capitalizing on the success of the Dockers label in Europe.

Before joining Seven For All Mankind, Broger headed Tommy Hilfiger in Europe. Prior to that he was chief operating officer at Diesel.

This story first appeared in the January 16, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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