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Kathmandu’s new CEO has a mountain to climb

  • Who's Where
  • July 2, 2015
  • Sarah Dunn
Kathmandu’s new CEO has a mountain to climb

Homewares company Briscoe Group announced on Monday that it had taken over a 19.9 percent shareholding in Kathmandu, which said in a statement it had not had any contact with Briscoe beforehand. Briscoe Group quietly accumulated 4.9 percent in shares over time, and secured a further 14.9 percent from shareholders at $1.80 per share.

Briscoe today posted a full takeover offer.

Simonet came to Kathmandu from London-based “affordable luxury” company Radley, where he was CEO. The company offers a range of British-designed accessories, with a focus on handbags, and has retail operations across the UK, Asia, parts of Europe and in Australia. It also exports to 50 countries through its online platform.

Simonet began his career with luxury conglomerate LVMH, which manages a stable of high-end labels including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Moët & Chandon. He stayed with the company for 11 years before leaving to become international director of Seafolly in Australia.

An Australian citizen, Simonet has relocated to Melbourne to take up his role at Kathmandu.

David Kirk, chairman of Kathmandu, says Simonet’s appointment is the result of a comprehensive international search.

“Xavier has wide experience in retailing and brand development in Australia and in many international markets. He has a proven track record building brands and developing successful retail businesses in fashion, apparel, accessories and related products,” Kirk says.

Simonet said he was delighted to join Kathmandu and to move back to Australia. He felt the potential for further growth at Kathmandu was strong, particularly internationally.

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