Coats appoints new President North America Crafts

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market, has appointed Stephanie Leichtweis as President, North America Crafts.  The business supplies foundation and fashion hand knitting yarns, quilting fabrics, thread, zippers and needlecraft items to consumers and retailers across the Americas and has market leading brands including Coats, Red Heart, FreeSpirit and Anchor. 

Stephanie has over two decades of sales, marketing and general management experience across both B2C and B2B.  She joins from Fibre-Craft LLC, where she has been CEO since 2015.  Based near Chicago, US, it provides creative crafts based activities in the US and internationally. 

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said: ‘Stephanie has wide ranging experience in product development, innovation, brand management, sales and marketing strategy, as well as an established track record in running a business in the crafts sector.  She is ideally placed to lead our North America Crafts business as we pursue profitable sales growth.’

The primary focus for the role will be to accelerate profitable sales growth through enhanced consumer marketing, effective use of digital and innovation.  Stephanie will also help support the wider company objective of increasing its culture of innovation by joining the recently launched Coats Global Innovation Forum.  This is an internal group tasked with developing and delivering pioneering ideas in threads, yarns and textiles in order to meet the evolving needs of customers.

Stephanie reports to Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, and is based in the North America Crafts head office in Charlotte, North Carolina, US. 

Prior to joining Fibre-Craft Stephanie was VP Sales and Marketing at Jarden Branded Consumables.  She has also previously been Principle, Integrated Marketing and Product Development Consulting at ArrowPoint Marketing Consulting; Vice President of Innovation, NPD and R&D at The Sterno Group, the leading manufacturer and marketer of foodservice products; and VP Marketing and New Product Development at Blyth HomeScents, a home fragrance and décor accessories products company.  Stephanie has a BA in Liberal Arts from Colgate University, New York.

Stephanie joined on Monday 2 October and replaces Michael Schofer who has moved to the role of Chief Supply Chain Officer at Coats. 


For more information and to request a photo of Anne Fahy contact:

Kristina Blissett, Head of Communications
T +44 (0)208 210 5084, M +44 (0)7714 539887

Notes to Editors

About Coats

Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market. At home in some 60 countries, Coats employs 19,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2016 were US$1.5bn.

Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world: providing complementary and value added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries; applying innovative techniques to develop high technology Performance Materials threads and yarns in areas such as automotive, composites and fibre optics; and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online.

Headquartered in the UK, Coats is a FTSE 250 listed company on the London Stock Exchange.

  • Each year we make enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans - that’s one for every person on the planet
  • Every month Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun
  • More than 450 million pairs of shoes are made every year using Coats’ thread
  • More than 100 million car airbags are made using Coats’ Performance Materials thread every year
  • In 1879 Thomas Edison used Coats’ thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb
  • Our Red Heart knitting and crochet yarn brand has been named ‘America’s Most Recommended’ by the Women’s Choice Award for three years running
  • Our flame retardant Performance Materials threads can withstand temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius
  • Coats is the second largest supplier of zips to global brands