Kathmandu CEO Xavier Simonet resigns for role at the Australian Public Service

Kathmandu chief executive Xavier Simonet has resigned after five and a half years at the company.

Simonet, who intends working out a six-month notice period, is leaving to take up a senior role with the Australian Public Service.

“We are disappointed to lose Xavier,” Kathmandu chairman David Kirk said. “We wish him well in the important work he will undertake.”

Simonet led Kathmandu Holdings through a period of growth and re-positioning of the company, Kirk added.

Simonet said in a statement he’d had an “awesome” time at Kathmandu, a company he said has “great brands, passionate teams and strong values”.

The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu reported its first-quarter result last week, indicating it was starting to see significant gains from its purchase of surfing brand Rip Curl, an acquisition led by Simonet.

Kathmandu group sales for its first quarter ended October 31 increased by 72 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.

Earnings from the period were boosted by the “transformational acquisition” of Rip Curl.

While Kathmandu continued to be impacted by Covid-19, group online sales were up 37 per cent in an extended period of 16 weeks to November 15, while wholesale sales for the first-quarter period ended October 31 were down 14.4 per cent on the same time last year.

The company saw its profit fall 85 per cent in the 2020 financial year, reflecting acquisition costs, restructuring and loss of $135m in sales as a result of Covid-19 and lockdowns in New Zealand and Australia.

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