Following an illustrious career that has spanned over three and a half decades at Supima, Jesse W Curlee, President/CEO, has announced to the Supima Board of Directors that he will retire effective December 31, 2015. Curlee´s stewardship of the organisation during his tenure has covered a remarkable career of more than 36 years of service to Supima, its producer members and the American Pima cotton industry.
Curlee has seen many accomplishments in Supima´s 60 years. He began his career with Phoenix based Supima in October of 1979 as General Manager and in 1981 he was named President/CEO. American Pima cotton production averaged approximately 75,000 bales annually when Jesse joined Supima and steadily increased to over 8,50,000 bales in recent years´over a 1,000 per cent increase. He also worked to expand production to California in the late 1980´s. Today over 90 per cent of the American Pima production is in California. During the span of his career with Supima, Curlee promoted the introduction of Supima to the fashion industry with the start of its now recognised and respected annual Supima Design Competition and fashion runway show during Fashion Week in New York City.
Under Curlee´s leadership, Supima began a licensing programme for customers wanting to use the Supima name with the first licensees in Japan in the 1980´s. Supima now licenses the name and trademark worldwide to spinners, knitters, weavers, brands and retailers with over 370 licensees in 39 countries. Under Curlee´s leadership, the Supima name has grown to worldwide recognition as the ´World´s Finest Cottons´, as evidenced by the demand of many of the world´s top designers and brand name retailers in their growing use and loyalty to the Supima name. There is absolutely no doubt the American Pima cotton industry would not be what it is today without his valuable contributions and skillful leadership.
Supima´s Chairman, Keith B Deputy, stated ´On behalf of the entire membership, staff and Supima BoDs, we sincerely thank Curlee for his valuable contributions, passionate leadership and dedication to the American Pima cotton industry. Curlee has been a strong leader and advocate for Supima and has made a tremendous impact in the promotion and advancement of Supima cotton. There is no doubt that everyone who Jesse has worked with will join us in wishing him the very best in his future adventures.´
The Supima BoDs has selected Supima´s current Executive Vice President, Marc A Lewkowitz to assume the duties of President/CEO effective January 1, 2016. Lewkowitz has been with Supima for over 12 years working closely with Jesse in developing the Supima brand and growing the licensing programme.