Feb 25, 2014
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Billabong gets new brand president

Feb 25, 2014

Neil Fiske is configuring his organization and team. The Billabong CEO became head of the board sports group in early fall 2013 and used the first months to define the major axes of his plan. Now he is filling in the details and choosing the key players for his new strategy. The CEO used a conference call on Billabong's half-year financial results to announce some strategic appointments.

Billabong is ramping up its management team. Photo: William West/AFP

The role of Billabong brand president has been entrusted to a company insider, namely Shannan North, a surfer who joined Billabong in 1993 and has served as head of the Asia-Pacific region since 2004. "Shannan has since grown our revenue in the region from AUD190 million to over AUD450 million. Throughout his career, Shannan has worked closely with Gordon Merchant (one of the founders)," said Neil Fiske in an earnings conference call. For the Asia Pacific region, Paul Burdekin is stepping in as general manager.

The group also brought in more resources for Latin America, delegating its Chilean and Peruvian markets to distributors there and recruiting Filipe Motta as the region’s general manager. The executive was previously vice president and general manager of Latin America Quiksilver.

The group has also appointed Mara Pagotto as chief human resources officer. Previously, she worked for American Express as vice president in charge of human resources between 2003 and 2007. She then served as head of human resources and senior vice-president at Interwest Resorts, a management company for tourist villages in mountainous regions.

Rounding out the new recruits is corporate turnaround specialist Bennett Nussbaum, as head of Billabong’s "Turnaround Office." His prior assignments include Burger King, Kinko's, PepsiCo and Winn-Dixie as well as consulting for a number of investment funds in recent years.

The group expects to bring on additional reinforcements in the coming months, including in the areas of merchandising and design. In its effort to preserve and leverage its brands identity, the company also renewed contracts with Johnny Schillereff, Pat and Greg Tomlinson, the founders of Element, Rvca and VonZipper.

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