HanesBrands’ Strategic Shake-Up: New Directors, New Strategies, and Tackling Debt


Unveiling a Strategic Shift: HanesBrands Appoints Three Directors to Address Debt Concerns

In a strategic move to address mounting debt concerns, HanesBrands has named three distinguished directors following a plea from shareholder Barington Capital Group L.P. The investment firm, a significant stakeholder in HanesBrands, had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s performance, urging immediate actions to restore long-term shareholder value. This development comes after Barington Capital Group sent a compelling letter to the board chairman, Ronald L. Nelson, in August, highlighting the urgent need for decisive measures.

Barington’s Call for Action

James Mitarotonda, Chairman of Barington Capital Group, minced no words in the letter, asserting that the company’s current leadership had overseen poor execution, resulting in a substantial loss of shareholder value and placing the company in a precarious position. Mitarotonda’s key recommendations included a focus on cash generation and debt reduction, coupled with a thorough evaluation of new leadership and board members capable of implementing performance-enhancing strategies.

New Faces at the Helm

In response to the urgent need for change, HanesBrands has welcomed three new independent directors to its board—Colin Browne, Natasha Chand, and John Mehas. These individuals bring a wealth of experience in retail, consumer brands, and operations, aligning with the company’s commitment to improving performance and exploring strategic initiatives, including options for its global Champion business.

Colin Browne: A Global Brand Executive

Colin Browne, a seasoned international brand executive with over 40 years of experience, has an impressive track record. His previous roles include Chief Operating Officer (CFO) at Under Armour, board membership at Worldly, and co-chairmanship of the Digital Supply Chain Institute. Browne’s extensive background spans various prominent companies, such as V.F. Corporation, Li & Fung USA, Pentland Brands, Wongpaiboon Group, Reebok, and Bally Shoes.

Natasha Chand: A Strategic Leader in Retail

Natasha Chand, the principal at NoBo, boasts a robust background as the former CEO of Amazon’s Softlines Private Brands and Executive Vice President of Menswear at Target Australia. With strategic leadership experience at Levi Strauss & Co. and Fair-Trade USA, Chand brings a unique perspective to HanesBrands’ board.

John Mehas: CEO with a Proven Track Record

John Mehas, currently the CEO of Vineyard Vines, has a history of successful turnarounds. Notably, he managed the turnaround of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie from 2019 to 2021. His leadership extends to various renowned brands, including Tory Burch, Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren Kids, Gap, and Bloomingdales. Mehas is also an active board member of Prior, a travel experience company, and a supporter of the Hudson Guild, serving Manhattan’s West Side and Chelsea communities.

Strategic Review and Future Plans

HanesBrands initiated a strategic review in September, prompted by concerns about its excessive debt burden and underperformance in the past year. During this comprehensive evaluation, the company began exploring options for its global Champion business. While the sale of Champion was not guaranteed, industry experts, including GlobalData apparel analyst Neil Saunders, considered it a likely move given its potential for monetization within the company’s brand division.

Collaborative Agreement with Barington

In a move to solidify its commitment to change, HanesBrands entered into a cooperation agreement with Barington Capital Group, L.P. This agreement encompasses a customary standstill, voting provisions, and other commitments. Barington has also committed to providing advisory services to HanesBrands on critical aspects of its business, operations, strategic and financial matters, corporate governance, and board composition.

James Mitarotonda of Barington expressed optimism about the newly constituted board, believing it is well-positioned to guide the company toward creating value for HanesBrands’ shareholders.

Board’s Full Support for CEO

Despite the strategic shifts and directorial changes, HanesBrands Chairman Ronald L. Nelson affirmed the board’s unwavering support for CEO Steve Bratspies and the broader team. The company remains confident that the addition of these experienced directors, alongside the current board members, will provide diverse perspectives crucial for driving accelerated growth and profitability.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, HanesBrands’ recent appointments and strategic collaborations mark a significant shift in its approach to address concerns raised by stakeholders. The addition of seasoned directors and a cooperative agreement with Barington Capital Group reflect a commitment to revitalizing the company’s performance and ensuring long-term shareholder value.

FAQs: Addressing Key Questions About HanesBrands and the Board Changes

Q1: What prompted Barington Capital to call for action at HanesBrands?

A1: Barington Capital sought immediate actions to enhance long-term shareholder value, expressing dissatisfaction with the company’s performance.

Q2: Who are the new directors joining HanesBrands’ board?

A2: Colin Browne, Natasha Chand, and John Mehas bring diverse industry experiences to the board, aiming to revitalize the company.

Q3: What strategic initiatives is HanesBrands undertaking after its review?

A3: The company is exploring options for its global Champion business and focusing on cash generation, debt reduction, and evaluating leadership changes.

Q4: How does the cooperation agreement with Barington impact HanesBrands?

A4: The agreement involves standstill, voting provisions, and advisory services, reflecting a collaborative effort to guide the company forward.

Q5: What is the board’s stance on CEO Steve Bratspies?

A5: The board, led by Chairman Ronal L. Nelson, expresses full support for CEO Steve Bratspies and the broader team in executing strategic plans.

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