Pentland Brands has expanded its management team with two divisional heads and one strategic director, in order to more efficiently coordinate the growing brand portfolio and fill gaps in interesting categories.
Chirag Patel, former global vice president of product and marketing at Lacoste Chaussures, has been appointed director of global strategy, from the start of October. He is responsible for the “strategic shape and growth” of the Pentland brand portfolio, which may involve potential acquisitions.
Furthermore, the company is splitting its brands into two divisions, each with its own manager, to start from the beginning of 2017. Chris Stephenson, currently chief executive of Canterbury, has been appointed to lead the Active division, which will group together brands such as Speedo and Canterbury. Richard Newcombe, currently brand president for Lacoste Chaussures, will take the helm of the footwear division. The group has yet to determine the exact split.
The brand managers are currently reporting to Andy Long, who became Pentland Brands' CEO in 2015. The change is due to the expansion and the growing complexity of the brand portfolio, which requires increased focus. At the same time, the separate divisions could help to more rapidly integrate the brands that are new to the portfolio, and thus bring the added value that the group is often able to deliver more quickly. Long added in a statement that the change would simplify the way Pentland works with partners and retailers.
The appointments are accompanied by two departures. David Robinson, president of Speedo International, will be leaving the company once the transition is finalized. He started at the swimwear brand as U.K. country manager and became president in 2008.
Another departure is of Marco Ellerker, president of the lifestyle division, which will no longer be part of the new structure. In this position, Ellerker supervises Ted Baker Footwear, Ellesse, Boxfresh, Kangaroos, Red or Dead and Kickers U.K. His LinkedIn profile reports that these brands had a combined wholesale turnover of $220 million in 2015. He previously spent several years at Reebok and climbed the ranks at Pentland with footwear brands from 2003, starting at Lacoste. Ellerker has agreed to support the transition as well.
Both departures are entirely unrelated to performance. The Pentland Group reported earlier this year that Pentland Brands and other non-retail activities in the group raised their turnover by 2 percent to £629 million (€700.5m-$771.9m) in 2015. Speedo achieved strong sales and record profits for the year, despite some unfavorable exchange rates. The latest competition range enabled Speedo to expand in the U.S. and many other international markets.