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Helfenbein to depart AAFA

CEO will be succeeded by Executive Vice President Stephen Lamar


Sept. 13, 2019

Rick Helfenbein is resigning as CEO of the $5.6M-revenue American Apparel & Footwear Association, effective Dec. 31. AAFA’s top lobbyist, EVP Stephen Lamar, will succeed him as CEO the following day. 

Lamar has been with the group since 1998. Previously he was a trade analyst with the Department of Commerce and a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana. He is currently president of the board of directors of the Washington International Trade Association.

Helfenbein was chairman of AAFA’s board when he was named CEO in 2016. A much-quoted critic of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China, Helfenbein also oversaw a rebranding of AAFA and revitalized the group’s American Image Awards. Previously, Helfenbein was president of all U.S. operations for apparel manufacturing and supply chain services company Luen Thai Holding Ltd.

An AAFA spokesperson said Helfenbein is not retiring but plans to move back to New York City full time.