Kiwi outdoor gear retailer Kathmandu has appointed Bill Chandler to the newly-created position of vice president of sales and marketing, Kathmandu North America.
Kathmandu developed a US footprint after purchasing US footwear company Oboz for US$77.7 million in March this year. Kathmandu North Americ was recently formed to offer the company’s products through the outdoor retail market in the US and Canada.
Oboz designs, sources, and sells footwear for backpacking and hiking. Currently it distributes its products directly to North American outdoor chains, limited online sellers and show and sporting goods stores.
Kathmandu and Oboz have worked in partnership for over 10 years, with Kathmandu historically being the second customer of Oboz when the brand launched in 2007.
Following the purchase, Oboz founder John Connelly continued to lead Oboz from the footwear company’s headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, while reporting to Kathmandu’s chief executive Xavier Simonet.
Kathmandu North America will now be headquartered in Bozemn alongside Oboz. Chandler will report to Connelly, who is president of Kathmandu North America.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to have Bill join our team in Bozeman and we look forward to introducing the Kathmandu brand to the US outdoor specialty market,” Connelly says.
“I have known Bill for many years and have great respect for his many accomplishments and contributions to our industry. We share the same values and business philosophy for creating authentic brands, controlling distribution, growing sustainably and focusing on the best possible relationships with our retail customers.
Chandler was most recently director of North American sales at Osprey, a backpack brand based in Colorado. Previous roles include director of North American sales for Sherpa Adventure Gear, and he was founder and president of Nomad, an independent sales agency.
“Kathmandu is a very exciting new challenge for me,” Chandler says. “And it is also an incredible opportunity to bring the unique story and products of this very successful New Zealand brand to our market.”
Chandler will start his new role in mid-July, and Kathmandu North America will debut its line at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver, Colorado, during November.