Stephen Bratspies HanesBrands

Hanesbrands has found its next head honcho.

Starting Aug. 3, Stephen B. Bratspies will lead the innerwear company as a board member and chief executive officer. 

“After a comprehensive search, we are excited to appoint Steve as the next ceo of Hanes,” Ronald Nelson, the company’s chairman, said in a statement. “Steve is an experienced global leader, has a strong vision for the future of consumer products businesses and has an extensive track record of success in senior management roles across a number of critical business disciplines. He has tackled complex business challenges and consistently delivered superior results across a multitude of consumer product categories.”

Bratspies was most recently chief merchandising officer at Walmart Inc. where he oversaw merchandising transformation initiatives. His résumé, which spans more than 25 years in the retail and consumer sectors, also includes stints at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America and as a management consultant with A.T. Kearney. 

Bratspies said: “I have great respect for all that Hanes has accomplished throughout its rich history, including developing power brands, driving category-leading product innovation and building deep consumer relationships. In addition, Hanes has built a world-class company-owned supply chain and established a strong reputation for workplace, environmental and social responsibility. Together, we will continue to accomplish great things and chart a future of growth and value creation for all of our constituencies.”

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company — parent to brands such as Hanes, Bali, Playtex, Maidenform, L’eggs and Wonderbra, among others — began its search for the new ceo in March when current ceo Gerald W. Evans Jr. announced his retirement after 37 years at the company. 

Evans, who helped grow the Champion brand to nearly $2 billion in annual sales and expanded the distribution of Hanes socks and L’eggs hosiery to Dollar General stores nationwide during his time as ceo, will remain as an adviser until his retirement in January 2021. 

Meanwhile, Hanesbrands is still dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown. In mid-March, the retailer temporarily closed 1,200 brand stores in the U.S., Europe and Australia to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Not surprisingly, the company fell short on both top and bottom lines during the quarter, or the three-month period ending March 28. In April, Hanesbrands furloughed approximately 5,800 of its roughly 63,000 associates to help curb losses. (The company has also shifted to mass producing cotton face masks.

Shares of Hanesbrands, which opened up more than 2 percent at the start of Tuesday’s trading session, are down nearly 19 percent year-over-year. 

“We are confident that Steve is the ideal ceo to lead Hanes forward as we focus on our strong portfolio of consumer brands across the globe, rapid online growth and strong cash flow model,” Nelson said. “We look forward to an exciting new chapter for Hanes under Steve’s leadership and oversight.”