Jan 14, 2016
Billabong US President retires after 9 years with company
Jan 14, 2016
In a statement posted on Billabong’s website, after 9 years with Billabong and 40 years in the action sports industry, Billabong's US President, Ed Leasure, said he will be retiring to “surf more.” Despite having a stronghold in the action sports industry, Billabong has struggled profusely over the past few years.
Bloomberg.com reported that at its peak in 2007, before the financial crisis, it was estimated to be worth $2.68 billion USD (A$3.84 billion). Since then, Billabong has struggled due to the crisis and the changing surf and action sports landscape, and was operating under a refinancing plan starting in 2013.
CEO Neil Fiske reported to shareholders in November 2015 in the company’s Annual Report that Billabong continued to struggle in the face of a weaker Australian dollar and slower trading in North America. He noted that consumer spending in North America had slowed across all channels, and that the back to school period did not experience sales as strong as the company had expected. Shares fell 25% at the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year, when the company reported weak year-end sales and margins.
Upon Leasure’s announcement, shares fell 4.5 percent to A$2.11, valuing the company at A$418 million ($294 million). As of January 13th, they are currently trading at A$1.91, meaning the valuation is continuing to decline.
Billabong’s holdings include surf and lifestyle brands Billabong, RVCA, Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company, Kustom, Palmers Surf, Xcel, Sector 9 and Tigerlily. It has been publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange since 2000.
With respect to Ed Leasure’s corporate leadership and successor, Billabong.com reports that its Brand President, Shannan North, will now also head up the Americas retail operations. Meanwhile, Leasure will get back to the beach but continue to remain available as a consultant for the company.
By Cassidy Mantor
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