The Columbia Sportswear Company has announced the appointment of Nick Schwartz to the position of director of Outerwear Merchandising for core product lines.

Schwartz will assume the new position while retaining his current position as manager of Specialty Sales at Columbia. He will report directly to Doug Prentice, general manager of Columbia Sportswear's outerwear department.

In his new role,Schwartz will be responsible for merchandising all of Columbia's early-selling adult volume outerwear groups including functional rainwear and fleece.

Schwartz will also continue to manage the specialty sales group which includes design, development, and sales of exclusive products.

Doug Prentice said: "Columbia's outerwear division is one of the company's most well known and fastest-growing parts of the business in terms of both sales and profitability. Nick has been instrumental in building the specialty sales portion of Columbia's business, and his leadership and expertise will play a crucial role."

Schwartz has worked at Columbia as manager of Specialty Sales since June of 1990. Prior to being hired by Columbia, he was vice-president of Sales for the Boston-based Penfield Sportswear Company Inc.

The company also announced that Bill Inman had been promoted to senior outerwear merchandiser from his previous position as outerwear merchandiser. Inman will also report to Doug Prentice.

As senior outerwear merchandiser, Inman will help to ensure the continued growth of the Titanium line, Columbia Sportswear's most technical outerwear category, and Convert, the company's snowboarding line.

He will review designs, set direction for the collections, finalise colours and features and work with accounts to both sell the collections and receive feedback that will affect Columbia's future line direction.

"As an avid outdoorsman and an experienced merchandiser, Inman brings a wealth of industry experience to a position that is vital to the successful enhancement of the Columbia name, Prentice said.

Inman brings more than seven years of industry experience and a lifetime of knowledge of the outdoors to the position. Prior to being hired by Columbia, Inman worked for REI and worked as a snowboard instructor on Oregon's Mt. Hood.