Nicole Otto has been named global brand president of The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor LLC .
The 16-year Nike veteran succeeds Steve Murray, who is retiring and returning to the U.K. The appointment is effective in June.
Otto will report to Steve Rendle, VF Corp.’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, and will serve on VF’s executive leadership team.
Most recently, Otto was vice president of Nike Direct North America. In that role, which she held from 2018 through May 2021, she oversaw Nike’s digital experiences and full fleet of inline and factory stores throughout the North American region. Under her leadership, Nike launched new flagship and Nike Live experiences in New York City and Los Angeles and started its expansion of owned retail across the U.S.
“Nicole is the right leader who brings the right capabilities to The North Face brand at the right time,” Rendle said. “Her global industry experience and deep understanding of consumer engagement strategies — through both physical retail and digital commerce — make her ideally suited to take the helm of this iconic brand and accelerate growth through even more compelling direct connections with consumers worldwide. Nicole is a proven innovator and future-focused leader who will further strengthen The North Face brand’s exceptional global executive team. We’re excited to welcome her to the VF family.”
At Nike, Otto was also a key architect of the company’s digital consumer-facing technology platforms over the past 10 years. Before joining Nike’s North America team, she held several regional and global leadership roles within the company’s digital business. She was vice president and general manager of digital commerce in EMEA, during which time she led the launch of the Nike app and the Snkrs app. Earlier, she was vice president and general manager of nike.com global store, vice president of global digital commerce operations and vice president of consumer digital tech. She began her career at Nike in 2005 after working in information technology at Charles Schwab in San Francisco.
“Few brands in the world have earned truly iconic status like The North Face and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the brand at this time,” Otto said. “I look forward to working closely with The North Face leadership team in addition to VF leadership to drive the next phase of growth for this beloved global brand and all that it represents.”
Otto’s appointment is part of VF’s succession plan in response to Murray’s planned retirement this year. He was appointed global brand president of The North Face in September 2020. Earlier, he served as executive vice president and group president for VF’s Americas region and previously was president of VF’s Action Sports Coalition and global brand president of Vans.
“We appointed Steve to lead The North Face brand knowing that his retirement was on the horizon but also recognizing that we could leverage his incredible 30-plus years of industry experience to strengthen the brand’s proposition with consumers,” Rendle said. “During his tenure, Steve further enhanced the brand’s outdoor credentials; turbo charged its apparel, accessories and equipment product engines; introduced innovative technologies such as FutureLight, built a successful footwear business and refined its channel and segmentation strategies, among many other accomplishments. Steve will leave The North Face brand in an incredibly strong position for Nicole to build on as she advances our direct-to-consumer and digital transformation.”
NorthFace continues to be on the move. As reported last month, the latest assortment from The North Face x Gucci collaboration features jackets, ready-to-wear, backpacks, bomber jackets, vests, hiking boots, luggage and shoes for women and men. This month, pop-up shops will open in select winter cities. From Jan. 11 through Jan. 25, there will be outposts in Aspen, Colo., Chicago and Toronto.
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