Design & Engineering Lead

Job ID: 3400


Building a family of brands, for the world to love, generation after generation.


We are Pentland Brands, a global family business bringing some of the most loved active and footwear brands to millions of people around the world.


We own Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Mitre, ellesse, Boxfresh, SeaVees, KangaROOS and Red or Dead. We’re the global licensee for Karen Millen footwear and Kickers in the UK.  We also have a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear.


All our brands have their own unique identities and every one of them is powered by Pentland. We have more than 1,400 employees worldwide and we’re always on the lookout for talented, enthusiastic people to help shape our future.


We celebrate differences and give everyone the freedom to innovate and develop, be it through creative working environments or learning opportunities. Our brands are there in the moments that matter - being there for more people, in more of those moments, drives everything we do.


At Pentland, we’re guided by four principles, we use these to make sure we’re not only doing a great job, but we’re doing it in the right way:


  • Success is a team game
  • With clarity and courage
  • Better as standard
  • In good conscience


To find out more go to or follow @pentlandbrands on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. 

Key Purpose of Job:


Our consumers have an intimate relationship with the products we create.  This role will uniquely impact the experience that people all over the world will have when they try on, wear, use and interact with our products – be that apparel, footwear or equipment. 

As part of the innovation leadership team you will be accountable for the creation of new and relevant product technologies and solutions across the full portfolio of brands and categories.  This is a highly collaborative leadership role, working closely with the wider Innovation team, brand and supply chain teams. 

You will champion the value of product innovation across the business by showcasing what’s possible.  You will translate this into meaningful consumer experiences and viable business solutions. 

Key Outcomes:
  • You and your team will be the heart-beat that drives all “proof-of-concept” activity, creating and growing an enviable product innovation capability
  • You will combine your acute understanding of what consumers want/need with an expert opinion of what is possible – hitting the sweet spot between desirability and feasibility.
  • You will lead and mentor of a team of highly skilled designers and engineers – providing expertise into workstreams as and where needed
  • We achieve an intimate closeness with the people that matter the most (consumers) through constant consumer testing and validation. Your hands-on creative and technical ability will help the team to execute rapid “prototype and test” iterations
  • Digital will play an ever-increasing role in product design and engineering, you’ll look for ways in which digital technology can bring new and valuable benefits to the experience of wearing our products
  • Expert application of engineering methods and practices will ensure that performance and functional risk is managed throughout the process – you will drive best practice in this area
  • Manufacturability will be baked-in to all projects, you will work alongside the product development team to ensure that cost controls are in place at the appropriate time
  • Your firm grasp of the latest technological & manufacturing trends will serve as a source of input and inspiration across the exploration and scoping phases, and your closeness with manufacturing environments will ensure a smooth delivery into brand
  • Fast always beats slow – you’ll endeavour to find new ways for you, your team and those around you to be agile and inventive in your approach to rapid problem solving
  • The matrix structure creates a single, diverse and deployable capability able to tackle the most complex and ambitious innovation challenges – you will interface brilliantly with other functional and solutions leads to fully activate this environment
  • The design & engineering team will augment its capability by drawing on expertise and resources within the brand teams – you will seek to create support networks and mechanisms that enable us to activate capability and capacity as and where its needed


What you need to have: 

  • Experience in leading edge product development ideally within sports or active lifestyle brands
  • Demonstrable evidence of providing technical/creative product leadership within an R&D or Innovation environment
  • Proven track record of creating and developing advanced product solutions that meet the requirements of a consumer led brief
  • Proven leadership, mentoring and development of people and teams
  • Proven ability to interpret and apply advanced scientific principles and complex technical data
  • Evidence of managing consumer/user facing trials and validation activity
  • Excellent making skills – prototyping, building and refining proof of concepts
  • Experience of working with advanced apparel, footwear and technology vendors (tier1&2)
  • Experience of sourcing new products and/or technologies to meet specific consumer needs
  • Evaluating vendors both from a technical and compliance stand point.
  • Appreciation of global compliance standards and regulations relating to consumer products (eg. GPSR, EN, ISO)
  • Strong grasp of product risk management methods such as FMEA, and demonstrable successes in this area
  • Proven ability to challenge established norms, influence and lead change within an established function
  • Experience working within, and leading, cross-functional and matrix teams
  • Ability to handle multiple concurrent projects and workstreams – with varying scale and complexity
  • Expert user of 3D CAD/CAE software for the purpose of product engineering and data management


What we need to see in you:

  • Highly collaborative and able to push themselves and develop those around them
  • Curious and driven to look externally and laterally for the inspiration to drive ideas
  • Able to operate within a diverse team of functional and method experts, prepared to challenge and be challenged
  • Flexible and adaptable to changing conditions
  • Driven by what consumers need now, with the ability to envision a future state
  • Ambitious, output focussed, commercial and pragmatic
  • A strong advocate for their specialism, but able to focus behind the best end result for the project, the team and the consumer
  • Able to balance what would be incredible with what is appropriate
  • A “player-manager” – ability to think big whilst getting hands-on and leading by example
  • Comfortable with failure as a means to progress


 This overview gives you a feel for what you’ll be doing day to day but it’s not an A to Z.                                                               


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