World Footwear


New head for the AAFA

Sep 4, 2019 United States
New head for the AAFA
AAFA President and CEO Rick Helfenbein is stepping down by the end of the year. AAFA veteran Stephen Lamar will take over from him and lead the organization
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) announced that Rick Helfenbein will step down from his role as President and CEO on the 31st of December 2019. Current Executive Vice President Stephen Lamar will become the association’s President and CEO on the 1st of January 2020.

Helfenbein has been engaged with the American Apparel & Footwear Association for 14 years – 10 as a member that included two as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and four as President and CEO.

"Rick Helfenbein has been a true friend and advocate for the apparel and footwear industry; on behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for his service and leadership", commented Gary Simmons, Chairman of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, continuing: "Rick has led us through some of the most disruptive periods in recent memory – from the disastrous border adjustment tax to today's trade war with one of our most important trading partners. Throughout this time, he has advised the industry with charm and wit. At the same time, we are very excited to promote Stephen Lamar to the role of President and CEO. Many in the industry and policymaking community have grown to depend on Stephen's expertise on how policies impact the industry. His foresight of potential risks and opportunities is unmatched. The Board is confident that he will bring continued success to the industry in this role."

Lamar has more than 21 years of experience with the association, having served most of this time as Executive Vice President overseeing lobbying and association activities.

"I am honored and excited to take on the role of President and CEO. In particular, I am grateful to Rick for his leadership and partnership through the years, and thankful to the Board for its vote of confidence", commented Lamar, adding: "With more than 400 billion US dollars in annual US retail sales and an employment footprint of nearly four million Americans, apparel and footwear companies are a major part of the US economy. I look forward to working with our team in Washington, and our members throughout the country, to achieve future wins and ensure that this industry can continue to grow and thrive”.

Image credits: US Chamber of Commerce

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