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Pillowtex's Gannaway lands at VF Corp.

Former Pillowtex CEO Michael Gannaway joined apparel giant VF Corporation last week in the newly created post of vice president, customer management. He also was named a member of the company's operating committee.

Gannaway reports to Mackey McDonald, chairman, president and CEO. The new position gives him responsibility for "establishing cross-coalition strategies with key customers," according to the VF Corporation.

Initially reporting to Gannaway will be John Sturgis, recently promoted to vice president of the VF Wal-Mart account team, based in Bentonville, Ark. VF lays claim to being the world's largest apparel maker with principal brands including Lee, Wrangler, Nautica, JanSport and The North Face.

At Pillowtex, Gannaway stepped into the CEO position following the sudden departure of David Perdue as the mill was foundering into bankruptcy and ultimate liquidation. Gannaway left shortly after the auction of most of the firm's assets to GGST LLC, a liquidation consortium, for $121 million.

Even after his departure from the company, Gannaway kept faith with the U.S. home textiles industry's potential to adapt and survive — even if vastly changed.

"Despite the fact that the industry is continuing a significant restructuring from a 'back-end' standpoint, it is still vital and dynamic on the 'front-end,'" he told HTT in an exchange of e-mails last spring. "I joined Pillowtex in an effort to help lead the development of a new business model that would focus around consumer branding, retailer alignment and product outsourcing. I still believe these are the right strategies for the industry. At Pillowtex, we just didn't have the time or resources to execute the vision."

Gannaway has more than 20 years experience in senior brand and customer management roles at Sara Lee, Revlon and Estee Lauder. He began his career in retailing, serving almost a decade with Dayton Hudson Corp., now Target Corp.

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