Mora’s new role is effective immediately. It is understood he will work to up Cole Haan’s women’s fashion quotient.
Jack Boys, chief executive officer of Cole Haan, said of the appointment: “We are delighted Tom Mora has joined Cole Haan in this new leadership role. His unique understanding of how iconic American brands integrate with the world of fashion in a genuine way will bring a level of seasoned expertise that will help continue the spectacular growth of Cole Haan in the marketplace.”
Mora, who was unavailable for comment, in a statement described Cole Haan as “one of the strongest American brands in the marketplace that is bridging technology and innovation with classic style. It is an exciting opportunity to be able to bring my women’s fashion design experience to the Cole Haan product line while expanding the core of their DNA.”
Mora has ample experience with the tasselled loafer-type merchandise for which Cole Haan is known. The designer ended a 14-year run with J. Crew in June 2015, as part of a corporate restructuring to help abate that brand’s declining sales and profits. At the time, Madewell head of design Somsack Sikhounmuong was installed in his place.
Prior to J. Crew, Mora worked with Coach Inc. and Ralph Lauren Corp. in various design roles. He is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design.
Cole Haan was acquired by Apax Partners in 2012 from Nike Inc. in a $570 million deal. In 2013, the firm appointed Boys as ceo. Prior, Boys had served as the ceo of Converse Inc. for 10 years, from 2001 through 2010.
In 2014, Apax told WWD that the firm hoped to boost Cole Haan’s global momentum and scale its international business — particularly in Asia. Since the purchase, Apax has focused on developing store concepts for the brand, as well as developing new product — which has notably included its ZeroGrand lightweight range designed in partnership with dancers from the New York City Ballet.