Current Creative Director and Chief Product Officer Kris Zacharias takes on the position of President and Chief Creative Officer, while newly added team member Bill Taylor joins as President and Chief Operating Officer. The strategic moves come on the heels of a larger management restructuring in preparation for the brand’s continued global growth and design evolution heading into the Spring/Summer 2014 wholesale season. Zacharias gains full authority over the direction of the brand including business development and strategy, marketing, and all aspects of product design and development. Taylor, previously Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Birki’s LP (a division of Birkenstock), will have full authority over sales and operations of the company, including both international and domestic sales, customer service, and daily operations. Koolaburra’s CEO Jeff Rawlings will transition to Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer effective immediately.
Zacharias joined Koolaburra in 2008 as head designer and partner, having previously worked at Deckers Outdoor Corporation and Global Brand Marketing Inc. for the Ugg and Diesel brands respectively. Over eight seasons with Koolaburra he transformed the brand’s offering from traditional winter boots with distribution including a handful of retailers (mainly surf shops and mainstream outlets) into a year round, contemporary footwear collection covering a wide spectrum of trend setting styles with a casual chic attitude and cult celebrity following. His vision has transformed Koolaburra into a globally recognized brand with distribution covering over twenty-five countries, two mono-brand retail locations in Hong Kong, and top tier retailers including ShopBop, Revolve Clothing, Singer22, Kitson, and Madison.
Taylor joins Koolaburra with over twenty years of senior management experience in the footwear business. He previously served as President and CEO at Sanita where he led the US growth and development for the Danish clog maker. He has also held senior sales and management positions with Diesel Footwear, Tommy Hilfiger Footwear, The Rockport Company, and Aicad SRL (an Italian trail and outdoor sports company.) Taylor will work to develop programs to strengthen Koolaburra’s brand positioning with existing customers, and drive growth in new trade and consumer channels.
“I am thrilled to write the next chapter of Koolaburra’s story alongside Bill. Having worked with Bill in the past, I know that he is bringing the skills and experience necessary for us to achieve the goals we have put in place for the brand,” says Zacharias. “With our combined footwear experience spanning over 50 years, I look forward to building the brand with Bill in the years to come.”
“Consumers are looking for brands with a personality they can identify with that also offer functionality for their everyday lives,” remarks Taylor. “I see the overwhelming potential Koolaburra has in the retail market to offer customers this perfect balance of comfort and fashion. I am eager to share my expertise and collaborate with Kris to see Koolaburra through this exciting new direction.”