Steve Layton to head up Polartec following acquisition

The freshly acquired Polartec has named a new president, Steve Layton, while CEO Gary Smith is to step down.

The Polartec business – the fabrics of which are used by some big cycling brands like Rapha, Santini, Sportful and Castelli – was bought by Milliken & Company earlier this summer.

Milliken & Company is a global diversified manufacturer with more than a century and-a-half of textile expertise.

“Steve brings extensive textile market knowledge and strategic business acumen to lead Milliken’s Polartec business,” said Jeff Price, president of Milliken’s Performance and Protective Textiles division.

Gary Smith, outgoing CEO of Polartec, added: “Appointing an individual of Steve’s caliber is a prime example of the capability of Milliken & Company to foster the Polartec brand. I look forward to introducing Steve to our global team and customers.”

Layton will head the integration process, bringing Polartec’s global portfolio of fabric technologies for outdoor apparel – including performance-driven and consumer-focused textiles, and flame-resistant, workwear and military fabrics – into Milliken. In addition, he will be tasked with the ongoing management of the business, ensuring operational success in manufacturing and furthering industry-leading innovation to develop textile solutions that benefit Polartec brand customers and end users.

“It is an honour to lead the Polartec business as we embark upon our next era of success,” said Layton. “Polartec is preceded by a strong reputation. I look forward to working with the team to furthering it in the market.”

Layton joined Milliken & Company in 2012, most recently serving as vice president of sales and marketing for Westex by Milliken flame resistant textiles business. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in managerial economics from Union College and a Master of Business Administration from Clemson University, where he served as an adjunct professor for six years.

CIN sat down with Polartec to discuss fabric science last year.