PVH taps H&M veteran as new head of supply chain

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Diving brief:

  • PVH has hired David Savman as its new director of supply chain to replace Sarah Clarke, who is expected to leave in October to pursue “other interests”, according to a press release.
  • Savman has worked at fast fashion giant H&M for the past 19 years, most recently as a supply chain manager.
  • At PVH, Savman will oversee the supply chain and sourcing strategy for its brands, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and report to CEO Stefan Larsson. It should start at the end of 2022.

Overview of the dive:

Savman holds a position at PVH that is arguably bigger and more important than he has ever been.

As Clarke, whom he replaces, said last summer at a National Retail Federation panel, “I think we’re still going to live with higher prices and changing consumer behavior – and the agility change is going to be the name of the game.”

It seems almost prescient today, as a surge in consumer demand that has strained supply chains still grappling with the impact of COVID-19 has resumed under pressure from inflation. Brands and retailers have gone this year from chasing inventory to trying to liquidate it in weeks.

At PVH, the clothing business was still working during COVID-19 related inventory delays in the first quarter, with management expecting inventory positions to improve in the second half of the year, Larsson told analysts in June, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

According to the figures, inventories were down 4% year-on-year at the end of the first quarter and stock-in-transit levels rose 10% due to long-running supply chain disruptions, said chief financial officer Zac Coughlin.

Additionally, PVH is still paying the nose for airfreight — to the tune of $12 million in the first quarter, mostly representing a 70 basis point drop in margins, executives said. The company also expects 150 basis points of pressure on margins due to product and ocean freight costs, which executives expect to offset with price increases, according to Coughlin.

One of PVH’s key initiatives is to create what Larsson called a “demand-driven and data-driven operating model” that ties inventory planning, buying and selling to consumer demand in order to increase speed and flexibility.

Presumably, Savman will be a key figure in building this model once he takes the reins as head of supply chain.

Savman comes from an organization where a fast-paced supply chain ran the entire business. His future boss, Larsson, also debuted at H&M and worked there for almost 15 years in key management positions.

In the press release announcing the hiring of Savman, Larsson praised the new director of supply chain for his “proven ability to simplify complexity, his strong ability to create value through a value chain focused on demand and data, deep experience in international markets and commitment to sustainability” and said Savman would play an important role in driving the company’s strategic plan.

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