Mark Weber to Step Down from Liberated Brands
Mark Weber, the longtime global general manager of Billabong Men’s who is now at Liberated Brands, is departing the company at the end of the month to focus on his family.
Under his watch, Billabong Men’s was the dominant men’s apparel brand in the core channel and one of the most profitable brands at Boardriders. After the Boardriders sale to Authentic Brands Group closed in September, he joined licensee Liberated Brands as global head of men’s product for all brands, including Billabong, RVCA, Volcom, and Captain Fin.
We asked Weber some questions about why he is stepping down, what he is most proud of during his tenure, and who will replace him at Liberated.
Why have you decided to leave your position at Billabong and Liberated?
Mark Weber: This is perhaps the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I’m so incredibly grateful to have been a small part of this amazing team and the Billabong brand for the last 10 years.
My hope going into this transition (the Boardriders sale) was to do everything possible to help find the best home for the brand, and much more importantly, the people who truly ARE the brand.
Given the new licensing model, I’m certain that we’ve done that in landing at Liberated, and the team there have embraced the Billabong family with open arms. If I was simply to use how Liberated has managed the Volcom brand as my litmus test, I’m optimistic about the future for both Billabong and RVCA as part of their portfolio.
As to my departure, I think all of us in our industry know that what we do and are part of is so much more than just a job. And for that reason, it can take priority over everything else in our lives. I’ve never been the best at balance. Life is short, and it’s simply the right time for me to re-focus on my family and put everything I have into being the best father and husband I can be.
How long have you been with Billabong? What are some of the things you are the most proud of during your tenure?
Mark Weber: I like to say I’ve been “back” at the brand for 10 years. I went to work for Bob Hurley at the very end of his tenure as the Billabong licensee back in 1998, knowing we were launching the Hurley brand. I sprinted toward the opportunity because of my love for Billabong since watching Occy close out the opening scene of Beyond Blazing Boards in 1985. The chance to be even the tiniest part of it was a dream.
Then 10 years ago, (former Billabong President) Shannan North called and asked if I wanted to come home, and set everything in motion.
It may sound cliché, but nothing compares to the culture and relationships we were able to build over the last decade. There are stacks of things to cite, from market share and growth to brand health and profitability, and those shouldn’t be taken lightly.
But I’ve never experienced the level of trust, passion, and accountability across every function around the world like we had as a team at Billabong.
Were there any key lessons you learned along the way?
Mark Weber: I’m still learning, and every day wake up trying to be better at everything I do, so I’d hate to sound like I’ve got all the answers.
What I do know is that if you surround yourself with talented and passionate people, and you empower them to be fearless because they know you’ll continue to believe in them and support them regardless of the outcome, great things can happen.
Hold yourself and everyone on the team accountable to each other, own the outcome together, celebrate each other’s wins and pick each other up when you fall short. I can’t take credit for this wisdom, it was pure osmosis from sitting next to Shannan for years and trying to absorb anything I could from one of the best human beings I’ve had the pleasure of working with and calling a friend.
Probably the hardest one for me is not letting the challenges along the way occupy too big a space in my mind. The more time you spend on toiling over what’s wrong, the less time you have to invest in what’s right. There have certainly been no shortage of speed bumps and hurdles along the way over the last few years, but oddly as this chapter closes, they’ve all vanished for me. It’s only the amazing times and people and what we were able to do together that remains.
Who will take your place at Liberated leading M&D for the brands now?
Mark Weber: My dear friend Brad Lancaster has accepted the role of global head of men’s product for Liberated Brands, across Volcom, RVCA, Billabong, and Captain Fin. He’s been with the Billabong brand for nearly 25 years and has been my partner, side-by-side, for the last 10 as the global creative director for Billabong Men’s. There’s no way for me to do justice to the talent level, but more importantly the passion and work ethic that he brings every day. I’ve been riding his coattails for far too long, and I’m excited to see him grab the reins and for more people to get the opportunity to see what he’s capable of. He’s an absolute unicorn. Congrats, brother!
Brad will be partnering with Katie Singer, the former global GM of Billabong Women’s, who’s now the global head of women’s product for Liberated. Katie has been my partner for the last 10 years and is hands down the best merchant in our entire industry. Liberated hit the lottery with both of them, and I can’t wait to see what they do working together across all the brands.
What’s next for you?
Mark Weber: No plans other than to embrace being there for my family as the most important job I’ve ever had. It’s not the end of the road, just a fork, and it’s exciting to not know what’s next for once.
I’d also like to re-introduce myself to my old friend, the ocean. I’ve been neglecting that lifelong relationship a bit too much lately!