With an eye toward digital expansion, Cole Haan has hired Stephen Henderson to serve as its chief digital officer, the company announced on Tuesday.
The company opened 26 localized sites in various international markets over the past year and plans to open more over the next fiscal year. In his new role, Henderson will oversee the brand's sites run by international distributors, as well as Cole Haan USA, Japan and Canada, the company said.
Before joining Cole Haan, Henderson was senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Caleres. He managed consumer-direct e-commerce as well as brand, creative, wholesale and consumer marketing for multiple footwear brands, per the announcement.
As Cole Haan continues to build out its global presence, a chief digital officer will help by owning the company's entire e-commerce presence and boosting DTC.
Jack Boys, CEO of Cole Haan, said in a statement that the brand is focusing on its international e-commerce expansion, and Henderson will play a significant role in its digital growth agenda. Henderson expressed enthusiasm for helping the brand to grow its digital and direct channels, a strategy that has increasingly been taken up by brands looking for higher margins.
A focus on increasing digital and DTC has been central to Nike's strategy, for example, and has led other brands to build out executive teams with key digital or omnichannel roles. Henderson's marketing experience is also likely a plus for Cole Haan, as high-ranking marketing and technology positions increasingly interact with each other. In fact, as the two intertwine, many marketing positions now hire for digital competency.
Brand President of Cole Haan David Maddocks called out Henderson's unique skillset in both marketing and digital in a statement on his appointment.
"Stephen is one of those rare executives that brings equal parts consumer obsession, technological know-how, and a passion for design and user experience," Maddocks said. "This alchemy will further transform our global digital platforms to drive growth over the next several years."
Cole Haan is coming off of a somewhat rough period thanks to the pandemic, which decreased the need for dress shoes and other more formal attire. The company decided to withdraw from its IPO in January, a process it began in 2019 with the goal of raising $100 million in capital.
In October, the company signed a deal with Kohl's to offer footwear in select stores and online. Kohl's at the time said it would roll out the brand's footwear across 200 stores in Spring 2021.