Kevin Burke is stepping down as president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), after nearly 13 years at the helm of the industry group.

Under his tenure, the industry has had its voice heard on numerous legislative and regulatory successes, including the passage and implementation of trade opening agreements and increased market access, social and environmental compliance, product safety regulations and global intellectual property rights.

The AAFA has also grown its membership to include more than 530 companies representing more than 1,500 world famous name brands; as well as expand its seminars and training programmes into key global markets like China, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

The group's focus has also embraced issues like chemical management, product safety and sustainability.

"The key lessons I've learned during my years at AAFA are that the US apparel and footwear industry is always moving forward and that the industry must maintain its global perspective to remain competitive," Burke said. 

The search is now on for a new president and CEO.

"With so many pressing policy issues facing the industry, including the near conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, time is of the essence.," said AAFA chairman Philip Williamson, president, CEO and chairman of Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company.

"We will act quickly to ensure seamless continuity in both leadership and AAFA's mission of standing at the forefront as a leader of positive change for the apparel and footwear industry."

Burke is leaving on 21 January 2014, and will be taking up a new post as president and CEO of the Airports Council International-North America.