Anders Kristiansen to take over CEO role at Esprit
The Hong Kong-based clothing brand made the announcement on Wednesday as it revealed that its current CEO Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez will step down from his position on 1 June.
Kristiansen will take over from Martinez Gutierrez on the same day, said the group. Additionally, Raymond Or Ching Fai has been named executive chairman of the board and executive director of the company.
The new chairman described Kristiansen as a “well-rounded and seasoned executive”, highlighting his experience in business development in Europe and Asia. “As former CEO of New Look Retail Group Ltd, Mr Kristiansen has a sound track record of leading complex growth and expansion projects. The board has every confidence that Mr Kristiansen will successfully lead Esprit into the next phase of growth and look forward to working with him to achieve that goal,” said Or.
Kristiansen left New Look in September after more than five years. The decision was taken mutually with Brait, the chain’s owner, following poor trading and a series of buying mistakes. During his time at New Look, the executive led the company on a path of rapid international expansion, but the retailer struggled to turn around amid challenging trading conditions.
At Esprit, he will attempt another turnaround. In February, the clothing company announced a 3.4% decline in revenue for the six months to 31 December, blaming weaker than expected performance of brick-and-mortar retail stores in the second quarter. This resulted in a net loss of $954m Hong Kong Dollars, compared to a net profit of $61m Hong Kong dollars in the prior year’s period.
Despite these results, the new chairman remained upbeat as he thanked outgoing CEO Martinez for his contribution to the company. He said: “Over the past 5 years, he reversed a severe declining trend of the group's results by stabilizing operations, restructuring the organization, and improving overall profitability. After this phase of bottom line recovery is completed, the group enjoys a sound financial position, with no debt and net cash of HK$4,575 million as of 31 December 2017. This healthy financial situation enables a new phase focused on driving top line performance in the coming years.”
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