May 28, 2009
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Levi Strauss appoints former Yahoo executive CFO

May 28, 2009

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO, May 28 (Reuters) - Levi Strauss & Co said on Thursday 28 May it appointed as its new chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, formerly the CFO of Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O).

Levi Strauss & Co

Jorgensen, who will begin his new job July 1, left Yahoo earlier this year in a broad management restructuring some seven weeks after the appointment of new Chief Executive Carol Bartz.

Global jeans giant Levi Strauss, which is privately held, has been searching for a new financial head since last August, when previous CFO Hans Ploos van Amstel left to pursue other opportunities.

Heidi Manis, the company's corporate controller, has served as interim CFO.

In an interview, Jorgensen said he was attracted to Levi Strauss due to the changing apparel industry, which is weathering consolidation and consumer spending challenges.

"Part of what I was attracted to is the dynamics of the industry," he said. "An ever-changing organization is important to me."

Jorgensen said he had worked with such well-known consumer brands as Kellogg Co (K.N), Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) and Under Armour Inc (UA.N) during his time at Thomas Weisel Partners, which he co-founded in 1998, and as a consultant earlier in his career.

As consumer spending has plummeted in the global economic downturn, large consumer companies are waiting to see whether shoppers who have moved away from pricey goods will continue to seek value once the economy improves, Jorgensen said.

"My view of the current consumer mind-set is that high quality, well-priced goods are the new luxury," he said. "Around the world, people are questioning what they're buying and why they're buying it. Levi's actually has a huge span of availability of that for consumers at the high end and low end." (Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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