Manuel Martinez, the former executive of Zara who recently became chief executive of Esprit, has convinced one of his former collaborators, Rafael Pastor Espuch, to become the new chief product officer of the Hong Kong-based company. The 44-year-old worked at Zara as product manager for footwear and as international clothing manager for the markets of Central Europe, Greece and the U.S. He takes the place of Melody Harris-Jensbach, who left the company at the end of last month. She had worked for Esprit between 1998 and 2007 and came back to the company at the beginning of 2012 after a stint at Puma.
Meanwhile, the company's chief wholesale officer, Christophe Bézu, has been promoted to managing director for Esprit Europe, excluding Germany. The French executive, who worked previously for the Adidas Group, joined Esprit in May 2011. He will now be responsible for both wholesale and retail operations across the group's European markets.
Separately, Patrick Daniels, who has been running Esprit's new French operation since July 2011, has been made responsible also for Spain and Portugal, taking over this function from Francisco Àlvarez who has already left the company.
The new appointments follow a series of new resignations in the last few weeks. Kjell Berggren, who had been appointed by the previous management as senior vice president of global store development, has left the company, and his position has been reportedly eliminated. Instead, the company is looking for a successor to Lex Gemas, who is leaving as chief operating officer in charge of global retail.
Esprit has reported a 5.2 percent drop in turnover on a currency-neutral basis for the first quarter ended on Sept. 30, with European sales rising by 5.6 percent at retail, with 0.2 percent growth on a same-store basis, and falling by 7.9 percent at the wholesale level. Sales in Asia were down by 14.5 percent at retail and 23.8 percent at wholesale. In the “others” category, which includes shoes and other non-apparel products, sales went up by 27.2 percent and represented 26.3 percent of the group's turnover of 6.55 billion Hong Kong dollars (€642.1m-$845.0m) for the quarter.