Vincent Wauters, the former president of Arc’teryx who became the chief executive of Hunter Boot Ltd in 2016, will be stepping down “by mutual agreement” at the end of July to pursue new opportunities, said the Edinburgh-based company, adding that it is launching a “strategic review” of its operations.
This comes after the Pentland Group, which is still a minority shareholder in the famous brand of Wellington boots, joined Searchlight Capital in a cash injection of £16.5 million (€18.4m-$20.8m) for Hunter, led by Goldman Sachs and intended to help the company through the coronavirus crisis and to support its future growth. Reportedly, a wider refinancing package will lead a former minority investor, Pall Mall Legacy, to become Hunter’s controlling shareholder.
The new strategic review will focus on the identification of new growth opportunities, particularly in the area of e-commerce. It will be led by Paolo Porta, who has been appointed as interim CEO at Hunter. In another change of management, Andrew Lawley has been named executive chairman on an interim basis.
Porta, who describes himself as an expert leader in the luxury market, worked on and off for Jimmy Choo for a total of 11 years, ending up as senior vice president of merchandising and licensing before leaving the company last December. He also worked at Burberry, Stella McCartney and Christian Dior Couture.
Lawley had been acting as chief restructuring officer for one month during the company’s recent refinancing. According to his Linkedin profile, he has been involved in equity investment, strategy and transformation for the past two years. He previously worked as group strategy director with two divisions of Dixons.
A year ago, at a time when Pentland owned 25 percent of Hunter’s shares, Hunter was reported to have started making a profit again in 2018 on revenues of £113.8 million (€126.7m-$143.4m). The company was founded in 1856.