Levi Strauss & Co. has acquired DC Company, the denim giant’s main footwear and accessories licensee in Europe, Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, and licensee partner since 1987.

The acquisition is a strategic move that will strengthen Levi Strauss & Co.’s retail business by offering consumers an enhanced range of head-to-toe Levi’s brand looks available in Levi’s brand stores and department stores.

“By bringing the footwear and accessories business in-house, we will be able to combine DC Company’s expertise in footwear development, sourcing and distribution, and its entrepreneurial approach with Levi Strauss & Co.’s broad footprint across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia,” said Armin Broger, President, Levi Strauss Europe, Middle East and North Africa. “This action will strengthen our brand by offering consumers compelling head-to-toe choices.”

"This acquisition gives us an excellent opportunity to further drive consistency across the Levi's brand, by now including a category which holds enormous commercial potential for our business,“ added Aaron Boey, President Levi Strauss Asia Pacific Division. “The seamless integration of our footwear and accessories lines to our main apparel lines will certainly strengthen our position as the original and definitive jeanswear lifestyle brand.”

Subsequently, Levi Strauss & Co. appointed Stefano di Martino, an experienced footwear executive, to lead its International Licensing and New Business division, which is responsible for developing the Levi’s brand accessories business across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Di Martino will lead the footwear and accessories business unit following the acquisition.

Di Martino’s career includes a unique blend of both corporate and entrepreneurial experience with major consumer brands in the footwear sector. He joined Levi Strauss & Co. from Fila, where he held two concurrent roles – Chief Marketing and Product Officer for Fila Global based in New York, and CEO of Fila Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Prior to Fila, di Martino was President and CEO of Mares, a Scuba Diving division of Head Tyrolia Mares (HTM).

Di Martino began his career with Nike, where he spent 14 years in sales and marketing positions for footwear, apparel and sports equipment. As the Footwear Sales Director for the EMEA region, he managed a business of over $2 billion. He subsequently went on to lead a new division called Energy & Trend as GM, responsible for a team focused on the sportswear consumer.

“Footwear and accessories are a critical component of giving consumers a strong product experience every time they walk into a Levi’s store,” said di Martino, who joined the company on Jul. 1. “I’m excited to lead the Levi’s brand’s efforts to give consumers across Europe and Asia great footwear and accessories that complement our market-leading jeanswear.”

—Melanie Gropler