VF Outdoor Coalition to Consolidate -- TNF most affected

The VF Outdoor Coalition, formed Aug. 27, 2001, and made up of JanSport, Eastpak, and The North Face, will complete the consolidation of administrative and support offices into three locations by Spring 2003 in the company's effort to become more efficient.
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The VF Outdoor Coalition, formed Aug. 27, 2001, and made up of JanSport, Eastpak, and The North Face, will complete the consolidation of administrative and support offices into three locations by Spring 2003 in the company's effort to become more efficient.

A one-year notice was given to all employees in Dealer and Customer Service, General Accounting, and Credit offices for a relocation to Appleton, Wisc. Distribution and Management/Logistics will be located only in San Leandro, Calif. Warranty Customer Service will be located only in JanSport's Everett, Wash. facility. Information Services will be located in all three offices.

Outdoor Coalition officers -- Mike Cisler, president of JanSport; Mike Egeck, president of The North Face; Tim Brockman, VP of operations for the Coalition; Richard Hays, VP of IT for the Coalition; and Dan Templin, VP/CFO for the Coalition -- met last week with all employees that will be affected by the decision.

Egeck told SNEWS® that the company felt it was important to provide this length of notice to employees to allow those who are most affected to make the best decision and not be rushed.

SNEWS® has learned that the approximate number of individuals affected at TNF's San Leandro facility is 50. No word on the number of employees who might be impacted at the JanSport Appleton headquarters, but estimates place the total number at significantly fewer.

"There will be staff reductions with this move, certainly, but it is expected that those reductions will come from employees who decide that it is not in their best interests to move or make a change," said Egeck.

"This has not been an easy thing to do," added Egeck. "We are doing our very best to ensure that every employee is taken care of through very competitive and equitable severance packages if that is the route they choose, as well as retention bonuses for those who elect to leave, but agree to stay with us for the next year."

In the memo sent to employees, the Coalition executive team also stated, "We are keenly aware of the profound impact this decision will have on our overall organization, but are particularly sensitive to its implications for our associates located in San Leandro. We will plan to make available to our affected associates the opportunity to seek other positions within VF including those to be located in Appleton as a result of this reorganization."

SNEWS® View: No decision that affects human lives is an easy one to make, but this really comes as no surprise and is a logical move. Ever since TNF was acquired by VF, the word has been consistently voiced that a Coalition would be formed and that as a part of the consolidation process, some integration of offices and jobs would be necessary. Egeck told us that this move completes the consolidation of the Coalition. We spoke with a number of employees at TNF who told us candidly that the mood was certainly sad, but at the same time they appreciated the fact that unlike prior regimes, Egeck and company have been very open, very honest, and have communicated effectively along the way how and why things need to happen. Efficiency of operations is what VF does better than most and the Outdoor Coalition is simply following along with the VF model for its brands. What is also evident, and all you have to do is listen in on VF conference calls with CEO Mackey J. McDonald and VF CFO Bob Shearer, is that the Outdoor Coalition is a bright star for VF and that the company fully intends to continue to invest in R&D and marketing of all the brands in its outdoor quiver.

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