Greg Smith, who is heading up Icebreaker in Australia and New Zealand, is taking over as chief executive of the merino outdoor apparel specialist from the start of June. He will succeed Rob Fyfe, who owns a minority stake of 5 percent in the company and held the job for the last three years, will revert to the chairmanship of Icebreaker's board.
The New Zealand-based company announced that it was on track to deliver an unspecified, record financial performance this year. Icebreaker is projecting sales of 220 million New Zealand dollars (€139.4m-$151.9m) this year, with 86 percent generated in foreign markets. The company grew at an average currency-neutral rate of 6 percent in the past two years.
With Icebreaker since 2013, Smith was praised in a statement for his role as a key member of Icebreaker's executive leadership team at a time when the group continued to invest in the development of international markets and in the expansion of its own retail business in New Zealand and Australia, as well as North America. The company has budgeted a double-digit compound annual sales growth rate for the next five years as part of its strategic five-year plan, with multiple fabric and product innovations coming to market.
Fyfe said in the same statement that the group spent the last four years adjusting Icebreaker to the changing aspirations of consumers, and particularly their eagerness to rekindle their relationship with nature. The brand has also been positioned to deal with changes in buying patterns and in the competitive landscape.
Fyfe was brought onto Icebreaker's board in 2012 by Jeremy Moon, the company's founder and largest individual shareholder, after a high-profile assignment as chief executive of Air New Zealand. Fyfe became Icebreaker's executive chairman in 2013 and chief executive about a year later. He took over from Moon himself, who became executive chairman and creative director.
The current board chairman is Rod Gethen, a principal at Pencarrow, a private equity company that holds 38 percent of its shares along with a partner, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Gehen was appointed after Pencarrow's investment in Icebreaker in November 2015, and he remains in the board, but the New Zealand group says that the intention was to appoint an independent chairman in due course. Moon remains on the board.