Materials Lead

Job ID: 3399


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


Key Outcomes:

  • Your expertise and application of new and exciting materials solutions will ensure that Pentland’s brands remain relevant to the fluid expectations of our consumers
  • 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 the activity for either “Equipment&Footwear” or “Apparel” solutions and will be fully accountable for the materials innovation for that domain
  • You will manage and mentor a Materials Specialist, creating a balance of capability and capacity across each domain
  • Your collaborative nature will enable you to develop a support network within the function and across Pentland’s divisions, with a focus on creating successful outcomes for the innovation team
  • As a part of the matrix structure you and your team will provide materials expertise into workstreams as and where required, interfacing closely with functional & solutions leads and the operations manager
  • As a member of the Innovation leadership team you will be a key contributor to strategy & planning activities, working alongside your peers to promote matrix working and effective resourcing and prioritisation
  • Materials solutions will offer efficiencies, improvements and disruptive opportunities for our brands, you will manage this spectrum of activity and be accountable for the management of time, cost and quality of output
  • Your wide external network of research, academic and industrial partners will enable you to bring the outside-in, providing resource and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible
  • “Fast always beats slow” – you will seek opportunities to work smarter within the team and to engage with external partners that can help us to accelerate opportunities
  • Early exploration and development of opportunities and ideas will present multiple solutions – you’ll collaborate effectively with the Research & Testing Lead to ensure this activity aligns with project objectives
  • The materials and the product elements work together in harmony, creating the desired experience for the consumer – you’ll forge an ever-closer relationship with the design&engineering sub-team in order to work smarter and maximise the quality of the end-result
  • The innovation team has adopted a digital-first mindset and you’ll seek ways in which to integrate digital thinking, methods and technology into everything you do
  • The technical performance and functional requirements of the materials will be clearly defined, and you’ll apply rigour and best practice in meeting these criteria
  • You will champion best practice materials development across Pentland and find opportunities to engage and influence around the business

What you need to have:

  • Experience in leading edge materials development within sports or active lifestyle domains
  • Demonstrable evidence of providing materials leadership within an R&D or Innovation environment
  • Proven leadership, mentoring and development of people and teams
  • Proven ability to interpret and apply advanced scientific principles and complex technical data
  • Experience of working with advanced material producers and experts
  • Knowledge of colour, print and finishing technologies (post-process / secondary process)
  • Experience of collaborating with first-rate tier 1 vendors globally
  • Experience of sourcing new materials and/or technologies to meet specific consumer needs
  • Proven track record of being able to identify new material applications and take these to a consumer facing solution
  • Appreciation of global compliance standards and regulations relating to materials and product (eg. Oeko Tex, Reach)
  • Evaluating vendors both from a technical and compliance stand point.
  • Experience working within, and leading, cross-functional and matrix teams
  • Experience in application of software to an appropriate level for the purpose of creativity, data management, presentation, report writing and communication


What we need to see in you 

  • Highly collaborative and able to push themselves and develop those around them
  • 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


 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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