Greensboro, North Carolina-based Kontoor Brands named Joe Alkire the successor to CFO Rustin Welton, who is retiring after serving as finance chief of the denim retailer — and maker of Wrangler and Lee jeans —since it was spun off in 2019 from VF Corporation, the company announced Monday.
Alkire, who will replace Welton as CFO and executive vice president on Aug. 31, was most recently CFO of BrüMate, a private-equity backed drinkware retailer. He previously also served as vice president of corporate development, treasury and investor relations for VF and earlier in his career was an investment banking and equity research analyst with William Blair & Company.
Kontoor CEO Scott Baxter credited Welton with improving the company’s balance sheet and providing “expert counsel” since the company’s inception and said Alkire was the right leader and “strategic business partner” as the company focuses on “accelerated” growth. “Joe’s background in our industry and with successful, disruptive brands will help Kontoor continue toward sustained and profitable long-term growth,” Baxter stated in the release.
Alkire began his career working as a senior associate in real estate capital markets with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, according to his LinkedIn profile. No Securities and Exchange Commission filing was yet available on Alkire’s compensation package.
In 2022, Welton, 53, received compensation totaling $2.96 million, which was comprised of $638,750 in salary, $1.79 million in stock awards, $424,125 in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $111,985 in other compensation, according to the company’s March 9 proxy filing with the SEC. In 2021 his compensation totaled $2.89 million.
The C-suite changes come as Kontoor faces a “challenging landscape,” Baxter said in an Aug. 3 earnings call. The company’s second quarter was in line with expectations, however, and comes as the company has taken restructuring actions to reduce “non-strategic spend and drive efficiencies” in operations, according to the company’s Aug. 3 earnings release.
The company reported restructuring costs of $8.8 million in the three months ended in June related to a reduction in its global workforce, streamlining and transferring certain internal manufacturing processes and the “globalizing” of its operating model. The restructuring costs led to a $1.5 million tax impact on the quarter.
Asked during the company’s Aug. 3 earnings call about the ongoing pressure from higher cotton and freight costs, Welton said the outlook going forward was brighter, noting that the peak input cost pressures “really came through the P&L in the second quarter,” according to a call transcript from Seeking Alpha.
“So we see that kind of easing here, those input cost pressures easing in the third quarter before inflecting to a tailwind in the fourth,” Welton said. “That's kind of how I would think about sort of the evolution of those inflationary pressures coming forward.”
Separately, the company has been focusing on tackling its environmental impact. Earlier this year it launched a system called Global Design Standards to lower its climate impact, with an aim toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing water and chemical usage, and assessing worker health, according to Industry Dive sister publication Retail Dive.