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Levi Strauss chair retires, successor announced

By Huw Hughes

10 Mar 2021


Levi Strauss has announced a reshuffle of its board of directors.

Stephen C. Neal, who is currently the US fashion company’s board chair, will be stepping down from the position on March 26, after reaching the mandatory board retirement age of 72.

He will be succeeded by Robert A. Eckert, who was “unanimously” appointed by the board.

Neal said it had been an “honor” to lead the company’s board over the last decade.

“As I step down from this role, I have great confidence that Bob will continue to bring a high standard, invaluable perspective and strong leadership that will help management drive performance over the coming years,” he said in a release.

President and CEO Chip Bergh thanked Neal for his work at Levi Strauss, describing him as “instrumental” to the business’ turnaround in the past decade, including his work in taking the company public in 2018.

“He has guided us through countless strategic decisions and supported our commitment to our values every step of the way,” Bergh said.

He continued: “As Steve retires as board chair, we are lucky to have Bob step into this role. Bob has been a successful CEO and brings decades of experience with other large, global companies and more than 10 years of experience on our board. He understands our business, our strategies and our culture, and is the ideal person to lead the board into the future.”

Eckert, who will step into his role later this month, has previously served as CEO and chairman of multinational toy manufacturing company Mattel, Inc, and spent 23 years at food manufacturing and processing conglomerate Kraft Foods, serving as its president and CEO from 1997 until 2000.

“Levi Strauss & Co. is an iconic, global company that I’ve come to know well over my decade of service on the board,” Eckert said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the board and the leadership team in service to our shareholders and other stakeholders, and in support of the company’s long-standing commitment to delivering profits through principles.”

Photo credit: Levi's, Facebook