legero united restructures Management: Kristin Käpplinger joins Executive Board as Chief Product and Sales Officer

November 9th, 2022

Graz, 09 November 2022. As previously announced on 31.10.2022 by Austrian shoe manufacturer legero united, Kristin Käpplinger has been confirmed as Chief Product and Sales Officer and as a new member of the company’s Executive Board. She joins the management team as the third member, along with owner and CEO Stefan Stolitzka and Morten Bay Jensen, COO.

Kristin Käpplinger brings with her decades of experience in the international footwear industry from the children’s, women’s, men’s and sports footwear segments as well as comprehensive product, brand and sales expertise to the management team. She has been with legero united since 2017, where she previously held the position of Executive Vice President of the superfit and legero business units and oversaw the collection development of both brands. Prior to that, she has worked for 14 years for the Danish shoe manufacturer Ecco, where as Vice President she was responsible for the Design Lab for the women’s, men’s, children’s and sports segments and most recently established the Ecco Kids business unit. Käpplinger’s appointment to legero united’s management team represents a major step in the company’s transformation in order to position itself for the future in the current volatile market environment.

Owner and CEO Stefan Stolitzka comments: “Climate change, the pandemic, the strained war situation in Ukraine and the current resulting energy crisis are parameters that affect us all. Out of a sense of responsibility towards our approximately 2,100 employees, our retail customers and partners, we are committed to permanently reviewing our internal structures in order to react quickly and agilely to changing market conditions and customer needs.” He then adds: “This competence in transformation has been a hallmark of our company since it was founded in 1872. For 150 years, our driving force has been to design, develop and manufacture shoes that you don’t have to worry about. Shoes of the highest quality in terms of timeless beauty, outstanding comfort and sustainability. But also with regard to reliable delivery at the best price-performance ratio. Kristin Käpplinger’s appointment to the Executive Board means that we are optimally positioned to achieve this, even under the current challenging market conditions.”

Qualitative growth with a focus on store-based specialist retail
As an independent, owner-operated producer from the heart of Europe, legero united continues to focus on qualitative growth with an emphasis on the DACH region and the targeted expansion of export markets. The company’s core competence – the design, development and manufacture of shoes of the highest quality with the highest standards of sustainability – will continue to be pursued in the future. The goal is to offer an optimal collection for an all-year portfolio consisting of the superfit, legero and Think! brands, whose brand awareness will continue to be expanded through targeted marketing efforts. Store-based specialist retail, the company’s strongest revenue generator, is and will remain the primary focus of sales. Kristin Käpplinger underscores: “Our incoming orders are proof that our retail customers trust us and that consumers are increasingly demanding our brands. Offering excellent service to retailers and consumers continues to be our highest priority. We are currently reviewing our value chain to reduce complexities, achieve efficiencies and guarantee reliable delivery. In addition, we are consistently pressing ahead with the data-driven digitalisation of our design, manufacturing and delivery processes.”

The sustainability agenda as a strategic basis
The strategic basis of all measures is the legero united Sustainability Agenda, or in German, “luna”, which stands for legero united Nachhaltigkeitsagenda. The Austrian shoe manufacturer has been focusing strongly on the sustainability of its products and their production processes for many years and has taken on a pioneering role in the footwear industry in this area. As early as 2013, the company launched its proprietary development platform for sustainable materials and products, VIOS, for its women’s shoe brand legero and its children’s shoe brand superfit. It addresses the issue of sustainability with a comprehensive and scientific approach. With the VIOS Restricted Substance List, a separate standard was then created: It imposes significantly more stringent requirements than the legal requirements or quality seals. The company’s own brand Think! has been a pioneer in sustainability for more than 30 years: In 2015, it was the first shoe brand to be certified with the Austrian Ecolabel and the Blue Angel. Currently, 40 models from the Think!  AW 22 collection have been awarded the coveted environmental accolades. In 2022, Think! was chosen by German textile and shoe retailers as the top brand in the sustainability category.
legero united became EMAS-certified for all of its Austrian sites in 2022 and received ISO14001 certification for its Indian site. The sites in Hungary and Romania will also be audited by the end of the year. Just recently, the company published its first sustainability report. It also received an award from the Austrian Federal Environment Agency for its creation of an eco-database as the best environmental and climate protection measure and was nominated by a panel of experts out of more than 100 applications for the prestigious Primus Award in the sustainability category, placing it among the top 3 nominees.
legero united is involved in important industry initiatives – such as the HIGG index, the cads Initiative, the International Association of the Natural Textile Industry IVN as well as respACT – and primarily works with leather suppliers who are certified by the Leather Working Group LWG. The Austrian shoe manufacturer is also a member of the Science Based Target Initiative,  which provides companies with a scientifically founded methodology for defining CO2 targets that align with the Paris Climate Agreement. legero united plans to be CO2 neutral by 2030. This objective is being pursued throughout the entire value chain.

Kristin Käpplinger: “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Executive Board and our employees to help shape the successful development of legero united. We all do this on the basis of a value that has defined our company for 150 years: a genuine concern for people and the environment. It serves as our guiding light and manifests itself in everything we do.”


About legero united:
legero united is an internationally operating company with Austrian roots. The family business, which was founded in 1872, has over 2,100 employees from 26 countries and is headquartered in Feldkirchen bei Graz. It develops and produces shoes in a timeless modern design with a perfect fit and sustainable standards for the superfit, legero and Think! brands, which are sold throughout 42 countries. The company’s growth is ongoing and dynamic. It operates its own logistics centres and production facilities in Austria, Hungary, Romania and India, and is also present internationally via distribution companies. In 2021, the company generated gross sales of 180 million euros and will sell approximately 6.6 million pairs of shoes in 2022.

Morten Bay Jensen, COO legero united: Since 2016, he has been responsible for Production, Technical Development and IT as well as Finance and Quality Assurance. Before moving to legero united, he has worked for more than 25 years in top management positions for a leading global shoe manufacturer, with stints in Thailand, Indonesia and China, among others.

Kristin Käpplinger, CPSO legero united: As Chief Product and Sales Officer, she is responsible for collection development for superfit and legero as well as for Sales, E-Commerce, Marketing and Customer Sales Service. She brings over 25 years of experience and vast expertise from senior positions in the international footwear industry, where she served in leading management positions in both retail and industry in the children’s, women’s, men’s and sports footwear segments.

Stefan Stolitzka, owner and CEO legero united,
has been CEO since 1991 and owner of Legero Schuhfabrik GesmbH since 1994. In 2001, he took over the Upper Austrian company Think Schuhwerk GmbH, and ultimately established legero united as the umbrella company of the three brands legero, superfit and Think!. He is not only the CEO of legero united but is also the president of the Styrian branch of the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) as well as the Kingdom of Belgium’s Honorary Consul to Styria and Carinthia. He is also the founder of the contemporary art initiative con-tempus.