ICA Trade Event

San Francisco 2015 Speakers

Our annual trade event is always the highlight of the global cotton calendar

Back to San Francisco 2015


Todd Buchholz

Former Director of White House Economic Policy – JLA

Todd is a former Director for Economic Policy at the White House. As well as serving under George Bush Snr, he has headed the $15bn Tiger hedge fund, lectured on economics at Harvard and co-produced Broadway hit, Jersey Boys.

A regular columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and NBC, Todd has written a number of books including Market Shock, New Ideas From Dead Economists and Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race. He also developed the Math Arrow – an acclaimed method of teaching maths – and is CEO of Sproglit, a company that applies the Math Arrow method to classroom software and materials.

“The ICA’s San Francisco trade event presents a perfect opportunity to think about how the world economy fits together, from farmers in the fields to designers in Milan to fast retailers competing for consumer spending across the globe.”

Kim Kitchings

Vice President Corporate Strategy and Program Metrics – Cotton Incorporated

Kim is responsible for the assimilation of global market intelligence to assist in the strategic direction of product development, marketing and evaluation of markets for cotton. Kim is a frequent speaker at industry events on topics related to global consumer insights, markets for cotton and corporate innovation.

“I am looking forward to sharing insights with attendees at the ICA annual trade event about the opportunities that exist in the global markets for cotton. Attendees will hear about economic and demographic changes that impact how cotton products can be marketed, as well as about consumer and retail trends that are impacting how consumers perceive cotton apparel items.”

Charles Walthall PhD

National Program Leader – Agricultural System Competitiveness and Sustainability Research Program USDA Agricultural Research Service

Charles oversees research on climate change effects and adaptation for agriculture, ARS remote sensing and geospatial technologies, plant and environmental process modeling and development of data management systems for ARS natural resources projects. He is the lead author of Climate Change and Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation for the National Climate Assessment and USDA’s Climate Change Science Plan.

“I am looking forward to presenting some perspectives from the research world on weather and climate challenges facing agriculture. I will also present new approaches to these challenges that make the present and near future an especially exciting time to be in agriculture.”


Bayard Winthrop

Founder & CEO – American Giant

Bayard founded American Giant after spending nearly 20 years running businesses in the consumer products space. He began his career in corporate finance at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, but soon he left investment banking for a career as a business leader and innovator. He has held key leadership positions at a variety of brands, including Atlas Snow-Shoe (eventually sold to K2 Sports), WebChat Broadcasting System (sold to Disney), Freebord Manufacturing and Chrome Industries. Bayard recently co-authored I F**king Love That Company, along with Randy Komisar of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

“In a time of such opportunity to innovate in the apparel and retail industries, we look forward to being a part of the conversation about cotton at this year’s ICA trade event. We’re fanatical about our cotton at American Giant and proud to represent American manufacturing within the global industry.”


Ben Jackson

President and Chief Operating Officer – ICE Futures US

Ben joined ICE in July 2011 from Sungard, a leading software and technology provider to the commodity market, where he led the company energy and commodities business segment. Prior to this Ben held leadership positions in financial services and consulting at The Bank of New York, Headstrong, KeyCorp and Accenture.

Ben is also President of NYSE Technologies and serves on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee. He has a Bachelor of Science in economics from John Carroll University.


Patrick Laine - Panel Moderator

CEO – Better Cotton Initiative

Prior to joining BCI in July 2013, Patrick was Director of Corporate Partnerships at WWF, helping the private sector to understand the environmental footprint of its value chain and working with them to develop strategies to reduce or eliminate the impacts.

With an MBA from Stanford University, Patrick has over 20 years of experience as president for divisions of large multinational corporations. His duties included oversight of factories in the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as serving as a divisional president of GE Capital for eight years.

“Milton Friedman once said: “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to increase its profits.” Listen to global brands, a leading textile sustainability initiative and a multi-national cotton merchant discuss Milton’s famous quote in a lively panel discussion on ‘green’ initiatives and what role (if any) they should have in ICA’s strategy.”


Michael Kobori - Panellist

Vice President Sustainability – Levi Strauss & Co

Michael has led sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co since 2001. Through his leadership, the company has been a pioneer on sustainability.

Previously, he was a Vice-President at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and also worked at The Asia Foundation for nearly ten years.

Michael serves on the Board of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Advisory Board of the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California at Berkeley, the Global Advisory Council of the Cornerstone Capital Group, and is a member of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Leaders Program.


Jason Kibbey - Panellist

CEO – Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world, Jason joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2012.

A former graduate of the University of California, Jason began his career at Bain & Co, working on strategies for high-tech companies. He switched to the apparel industry in 2008 as CEO and co-founder of PACT – an apparel company combining design, sustainability and philanthropy.

Having worked on environmental campaigns for Patagonia, Jason also co-founded Freedom to Roam, a non-profit initiative developed to enhance and protect wildlife corridors and landscape connectivity in North America.


Antonio Esteve - Panellist

Director Empresa Interagricola – ECOM

Antonio’s professional career began in Paraguay in 1977 when he set up and managed a cotton gin and founded a soybean trading operation. Since 1980 he has lived in São Paulo, Brazil where he has been actively involved with soybean, coffee, oilseeds and cotton trading.

A former President of the ICA, Antonio was founding member and the first President of ANEA – Brazil’s cotton exporters association – from 2001 to 2005. He is currently CEO of Ecom Cotton, one of the managing directors of the ECOM Group and President of Empresa Interagricola S/A, ECOM’s Brazilian affiliate company.


Pascal Brun - Panellist

Global Supply Chain Manager – H&M

Pascal has 15 years of experience in the Apparel and Textile Industry with multinational corporations such as H&M & Camaieu and his experience spans across execution and strategic management roles.
After having worked in Europe ,China and Bangladesh, across a variety of roles such as Supply Chain Manager and Country Manager, he is now responsible for leading and managing H&M’s Global Supply Chain for Materials and is currently based in Hong Kong.

Pascal’s expertise lies in his experience from integrating key Business KPI’s with those of Sustainability. Under his leadership, H&M has achieved and implemented several key sustainable initiatives.
He also sits on the Board of ICA and Better Cotton Initiative as the brands representative for the industry.

Kai Hughes

Managing Director – International Cotton Association

Kai’s cotton career began in 2000 at the Liverpool Cotton Association as General Manager, where he remained until 2003. He then took on the role of Director of Legal Services and Governance at Bolton University.

In 2008 Kai returned to cotton as Managing Director of the ICA. He works closely with its directors and members to drive the association forward and promote safe trading. In addition, Kai is Managing Director of ICA Bremen – a joint venture with the ICA and Bremer Baumwollboerse to create a global centre of excellence for cotton testing, research and quality training.


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