Roy Bagattini

Roy Bagattini is trading American jeans for South African retail. 

Bagattini, 56, who has been executive vice president and president of Levi Strauss Americas, is returning to his native South Africa to lead Woolworths Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive officer. 

At Levi Strauss & Co., Marc Rosen, who already heads the direct-to-consumer business, will keep that responsibility and step up to become executive vice president and president for Levi Strauss Americas. In the broader role, he will lead all of the company’s largest commercial operations, covering all brands and channels across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the rest of Latin America. 

“Marc has a proven track record, having led our direct-to-consumer business through 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth,” said Chip Bergh, president and ceo of Levi Strauss. 

Bergh added that the departing Bagattini has been “a vital member of the team that led LS & Co.’s turnaround.

“He is a respected leader whose insights and perspective helped to shape our winning strategy,” Bergh said. “Today, we are set up for continued success. I am grateful for Roy’s contributions to the strong foundation now in place at LS & Co., and I know that he will be a high-impact ceo in his next role.”

Bagattini starts his new job on Feb. 17 and will be taking over the lead of Woolworths from Ian Moir, who is ending a nine-year run at the top, but will continue on as acting ceo of the company’s David Jones unit.

Hubert Brody, Woolworths’ chairman, said: “Roy has extensive operational, management and turnaround experience in global consumer and retail markets, which will prove invaluable as we continue to navigate the structural changes taking place in the retail sector and the challenges particular to our group. The experienced executive management team, under Roy’s leadership, will continue to drive the future strategy for the group.” 

It’s a big job. 

In its latest fiscal year, Woolworths posted revenues of 73 billion South African rand, or $5 billion. That marked a 6.6 percent increase. But the retailer has seen steady profits swing to net losses for the last two years, with a deficit of $1 billion South African rand, or $75.3 million, in 2019.

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