Clarks says it is in discussions for the elimination of 170 job at its operations across the world. The company has reportedly already laid off about 50 members of the staff at its head office and warehouse in Somerset. It will provide them with a full package of support, including assistance to help them find new employment.
In addition, a significant number of employees across its global operations have been asked to take on new roles and responsibilities to “help create a business that's fit for the future, which is leaner, faster and more effective and better able to respond to customer demands and rapidly changing markets.”
The company is eliminating duplicate functions in order to reduce complexities and improve operational efficiencies. Among other measures, it is combining product and marketing functions in the U.K. and the U.S.
Meanwhile, Clarks announced the appointment of a new president for its U.S.-based subsidiaries, Clarks Americas. Gary Champion, who had spent 25 years with Clarks prior to his departure in 2008, is filling the role with immediate effect, taking the place of Geralyn Breig, who has left the company after two years in the job.
Champion worked briefly as chief operating officer of Geox USA after leaving Clarks, where he had risen to the rank of senior vice president in charge of wholesale operations for the U.S. and Canada. He then ran Earth Footwear in the past six years.
As we had previously reported, the company's chief executives, Melissa Potter, and its chief financial officer, Robin Beecham, resigned last September. The non-executive chairman, Thomas O'Neill, was appointed executive chairman on an interim basis. Mike Coley, group financial controller, was named interim CFO. The resignation followed lower-than-expected results for the first half of Clarks' financial year.
A few days ago, Clarks appointed two new non-executive members to its board of directors, Walker Boyd and Lucien Alziari. Boyd is a chartered accountant who has worked for various online and offline fashion retailers including Grattan. Alziari is currently in charge of human resources at the Maersk Group and worked previous in a similar role at Avon Products, PepsiCo and Mars Confectionery in the U.K.
In announcing the resignation of Potter and Beecham, Clarks said at the time that the company would reappraise its business model and simplify its activities, focusing new investments in e-commerce and in five strategic markets: the U.K., Ireland, the Americas, China and India (see Shoe Intelligence no. 17-18+19 of last Oct. 14).