Jeff is the third generation of the Swartz family to lead Timberland. His grandfather Nathan started the predecessor company to Timberland in 1952. Jeff’s father Sidney and his uncle Herman launched the Timberland® brand in the early 1970s. Jeff was promoted to President and CEO in 1998, after working in virtually every functional area of the company since 1986.
Under Jeff’s leadership, Timberland has grown rapidly, from $156 million in 1989 to $1.4 billion in 2008. Timberland today competes in countries around the world, designing, manufacturing and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children.
Today, Jeff leads an organization that believes that doing well and doing good are inextricably linked. Timberland struggles every working day to demonstrate that the business of business is to deliver results for shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and consumers worldwide while demonstrating best practices, measurable impact and sustainable programs. At the center of this commitment to be accountable to all stakeholders is Timberland’s commitment to reducing global warming and preserving the outdoor environment.
In 2006 Timberland introduced an industry-first “nutrition label” on all of its footwear boxes in an effort to provide consumers with greater transparency about the company’s environmental and community footprint. A year later, the company launched its Green Index™ rating system, which provides a measure of the environmental impact of specific products they buy and the company that provides them.
A commitment to active citizenship through initiatives like environmental stewardship, global human rights and community involvement is not new to Timberland. In 1988, Timberland launched a groundbreaking private/public partnership with City Year, a national youth service organization. Jeff joined City Year’s Board in 1989 and was the national Chair from 1994 until 2003. As a national founding sponsor, Timberland has invested to fuel City Year’s growth and impact. Timberland is City Year’s official outfitter, providing Timberland’s signature yellow boots and a full uniform to the service heroes who work in 17 sites in America and in South Africa.
Recognizing that there was a passion within Timberland for voluntary service, Jeff initiated The Path of Service™ program in 1992. The program gives all Timberland employees 40 hours of paid leave each year for community service during the workweek. Service sabbaticals, which provide up to six months of paid time leave for employees to serve in capacity building roles in social justice organizations is the latest evolution of the Path of Service™ program.
Being accountable to a whole range of stakeholders, from shareholders to community activists, has made Timberland a better company. Timberland appeared on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for 10 consecutive years and has also been named one of the Best Places to Work by Working Mother magazine. They have been listed on Business Ethics list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens and in 2002, Timberland received the Ron Brown Award, a Presidential award recognizing outstanding corporate leadership in social responsibility.
Jeff is one of 19 founding CEOs selected for President Bush’s task force on national service called Business Strengthening America. He is on the board of directors for the Climate Group, Share Our Strength, Honest Tea, City Year, the Harlem Children’s Zone and Limited Brands, Inc. In addition, Jeff is a member of the World Economic Forum and the Two/Ten Foundation, an organization providing charitable funds and services to individuals in the footwear industry. In 2002, he received the Two/Ten Foundation’s T. Kenyon Holly Memorial Award for Humanitarian Achievement.
Jeff received an MBA from Dartmouth in 1984, and a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown in 1982.