Esprit’s CEO, CFO to depart
Esprit is hanging on the brink. The fashion group, whose difficulties have been exacerbated by the pandemic, is set to lose two of its top executives. The first is Anders Kristiansen, who took charge in 2018 as CEO of the company, which is based in Germany but is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
But former New Look boss Kristiansen was not the only top executive to tender his resignation to Esprit’s board of directors on December 17, as CFO Johannes Schmidt-Schultes is going to step down too. They will both depart at the latest by February 28, “or at an earlier date if requested by the group,” stated Esprit in a press release, adding that the two executives “have no disagreement with the board” and are leaving “to pursue other professional interests.”
It is worth remembering that, in July, Esprit’s new majority shareholder, North Point Talent Ltd, called for the resignation of the fashion retailer's CEO, who had been appointed two years ago to carry out an in-depth reorganisation. The wish has now been granted, and Esprit has stated it will identify suitable candidates to replace the departing executives, “with the goal of concentrating its international management in Hong Kong.”
Esprit’s new CEO will therefore not be based in Germany, a country where, in March, the company filed for a protection procedure relating to its German business, including the company headquarters. Ultimately, Esprit will close down half of its retail network in Germany, for a loss of 1,100 jobs. The group is not struggling in Europe alone. In April, it decided to cease trading in the majority of its Asian markets too.
As of June 30 2020, Esprit had the equivalent of 3,400 full-time employees. In the 2019-20 financial year, which closed on June 30, the group’s sales fell by 23.6%, down to HKD9.874 billion (€1.09 billion). The group's losses before interest and tax seriously deepened in the course of the financial year, increasing by 65.7%, from HKD2.080 billion to HKD3.447 billion (€380 million).
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