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Kathmandu CEO resigns to head up Austrade

Outdoor fashion retailer Kathmandu’s chief executive Xavier Simonet has resigned after five years at the helm

Simonet is taking up a role as CEO of Austrade, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and will remain with the company through the next six months or until the board dismisses him.

“I have had an awesome time at Kathmandu Holdings, where I’ve spent the last five immensely exciting years,” Simonet said.

“The Group has great brands, passionate teams and strong values. I’m very grateful to our teams, to the board of directors, to our shareholders, and to my chairman, David Kirk, for their support.”

Kirk said the group was disappointed to lose Simonet, but that it understands his desire to move on to a new role.

“We wish him well in the important work he will undertake,” Kirk said.

“Xavier has led Kathmandu Holdings through a period of growth and repositioning the company.”

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Simonet’s appointment comes at a time when the commission has a critical role to play in helping Australian businesses export internationally and maintain global supply chains.

“Bringing a distinguished career in brand sales and marketing, international market development and acquisitions, I am sure that Mr Simonet’s extensive knowledge and wide international experience will serve Australian businesses well,” Birmingham said.

The group recently released sales figures for the first quarter of FY21, which landed 72 per cent above the same time last year. However, Kathmandu saw sales decline due to the fall in CBD foot traffic and the impact of lockdowns, which was largely offset by the gains made at RipCurl heading into summer.

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