Lee forced to reshuffle after president leaves

Lee Europe is reshuffling its senior management following the surprise departure of president John White.

Terry Lay, president of VF Corporation – the international clothing company which owns jeans brands Lee and Wrangler – has taken over from White.

White’s departure is believed to have sparked a restructure in Lee Europe’s senior management.

Peter Abbiss, the general manager of Lee UK is believed to have lost control of Lee Europe’s operations, which will now be handled by Lay.

It is believed further reorganising of Lee Europe will follow, after sales slipped in 1995 and the company cut back on production.

In June, Lee Europe closed its jeans-manufacturing facility in Leper, Belgium – laying off 480 employees – saying the plant could “no longer compete on the international market”.

VF Corporation announced in September last year that its sales for the year were down three per cent to 848m compared with the first nine months in 1994.

Lee and Wrangler both hold about 7.5 per cent of the market. Market leader Levi’s has 25.6 per cent (Economist Intelligence Research).

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