Lee’s European director ousted

Derek Woodgate, European marketing director for the world’s number two jeans brand Lee, has left the company unexpectedly.

It is not known if Woodgate, who joined the company from rival Lee Cooper seven years ago, has another job to go to. He will be replaced by David Smith, previously European marketing director for Wrangler.

Smith is assuming the role of European marketing director for the Lee and Wrangler brands, both owned by US company VF Corporation. He will continue to work from Brussels, the company’s European headquarters.

Sources close to Lee say Wood-gate was ousted after the Lee brand was marketed as a unisex label, in the same style as rival Levi-Strauss. However, it was a strategy out of step with the rest of the world where Lee is targeted at women and Wrangler is targeted at men.

European advertising for Lee is handled by Grey, which created the much publicised “stiletto” poster campaign. AMV.BBDO holds the pan-European Wrangler account.

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