C-Suite Speaker Series: Rick Helfenbein, President of Luen Thai USA & Vice Chairman of the American Apparel and Footwear Association
February 4, 2014
Rick Helfenbein, President of Luen Thai USA, will be the next speaker in LIM College's C-Suite Speaker Series. He will be on campus to talk to graduate students and Fashion Scholars on Tuesday, February 4 at 6 pm (in FashionOpolis).
Mr. Helfenbein is President of all USA operations for Luen Thai Holdings Limited. Luen Thai is the largest publicly listed apparel manufacturing, footwear, accessories, and supply chain services company on the Hong Kong Exchange. Customers include Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, Dillard's, Banana Republic, Adidas, Victoria's Secret, Macy's, Uniqlo and Ann Inc. Utilizing the facets of Lean Manufacturing, Lean Enterprise, and Lean Supply Chain, Luen Thai has a proven track record in China, the Philippines, and Cambodia, where their manufacturing facilities are considered to be some of the finest in the world.
Mr. Helfenbein has been credited with numerous achievements in the apparel and supply chain field, including the creation of the original Le Tigre brand, and helping to engineer the label split between the Izod and Lacoste brands. Over the years, he successfully turned around two ailing apparel companies, and has pioneered trade development for many Latin American and Asian countries.
Mr. Helfenbein has served on the management boards of Campus Sportswear (Le Tigre), Crystal Brands (Lacoste), and the Board of Blythedale Children's Hospital in New York. He currently sits on the Executive Committee and Board of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, and holds the office of AAFA Vice Chairman. Mr. Helfenbein is also on the Apparel Studies Advisory Board of the University of Arkansas, and the Wisdom Council of The Greyston Foundation.
As the apparel business has shifted strategies, Rick Helfenbein has been at the forefront of sourcing restructure and quick response. He was first into Haiti with the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Following successful expansion into Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, he ventured into Mexico and helped set up a fully integrated vertical mill. In 2009, Mr. Helfenbein returned to Haiti with a group of potential investors, in an attempt to revitalize the Haitian Economy. Following the January 2010 devastating earthquake, he was named Co-Chair of HARRT, Haiti AAFA Recovery and Reconstruction Team, and continues to work and help with the Clinton Global Initiative towards the revitalization of the Haitian Assembly Industry, with visits to Haiti in 2011 and 2012.
Mr. Helfenbein has written several articles on trade matters for Sourcing Journal and WWD. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the Wharton Business School and often lectures at distinguished universities and industry conferences on the subjects of international trade and supply chain management. He also remains active in Washington, DC as an advocate for a robust USA trade agenda.
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