Eric Leemans, chief executive of A.S. Adventure, the Belgian outdoor retailer, left the company recently, due to strategic disagreements with Frederic Hufkens, chief executive of the A.S. Adventure Group, which owns the Belgian chain as well as Bever in the Netherlands and Cotswold Outdoor in the U.K.
Leemans, who joined in April 2009 after several other functions in retailing and real estate, will not be replaced as chief executive of A.S. Adventure. Dominique Motte, the Belgian retailer's chief financial officer, will take over the duties of the chief executive as well, and Hufkens will remain a hands-on supervisor, with particular focus on buying.
Leemans will be searching for another job or venture after a little time off to recover from his hectic years in the group, which included a stint of 14 months as chief executive of Bever. From May 2010 until last June he was partly in charge of multiple restructuring measures at the Dutch arm of the retail company, while continuing to lead A.S. Adventure in Belgium.
Hufkens stressed that Leemans' departure was due to internal disagreements and entirely unrelated to the performance of A.S. Adventure, either in terms of sales or margin.
This performance has been outstanding in the last years, as A.S. Adventure continued to expand in spite of its already dense network of stores and reaped a higher profit margin than other retailers in the group. Hufkens said A.S. Adventure continued to perform strongly this year, as did Bever and Cotswold Outdoor.
A.S. Adventure reached a turnover of €126.7 million last year, up by 24.4 percent, including a rise of 10.6 percent in comparable store sales.
The retailer has 38 stores, including three mono-brand stores for The North Face in Belgium and two stores A.S. Adventure stores in Luxembourg, and it opened another in France this year.