Clarks puts Olivier Motteau in charge of Europe
After recently poaching a new CIO from La Perla, long-established British footwear brand Clarks has hired an experienced industry executive, Olivier Motteau, putting him in charge of its business in Europe, with the exception of the UK and Ireland.
In the last 14 years, Motteau has been at the helm of New Balance, in France first and then in Europe. He has greatly expanded the business of the US sport brand’s European subsidiary, opening a number of flagship stores in key countries.
Before joining New Balance, Motteau worked for several brands on the French market, first at Reebok, from 1987 to 1997, then at Timberland until 2003, followed by stints at Chevignon and Skechers France, before taking charge of Tommy Hilfiger France for two years. He joined New Balance as country manager France in 2007, and became head of Europe in 2010.
Motteau’s expertise in footwear retailing, especially in the market’s medium-high segment, is expected to be an asset for Clarks, at a time when the company is reorganising after a troubled 2021. Clarks was founded in 1825 and was still a family-owned company prior to the pandemic, but it ran into difficulties last year.
In the fiscal year which ended in January 2021, whose results were recently published, Clarks recorded a loss of GBP182 million, as its sales slumped considerably, falling to GBP775 million from GBP1.37 billion a year earlier.
The company was therefore forced to draw up a recovery plan, which led to the LionRock Capital group, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, acquiring a majority stake in Clarks, in a deal that was finalised in March 2021.
Following the acquisition, Giorgio Presca, Clarks’s managing director, Massimo Barzaghi, the commercial director, and HR director Difna Blamey, all left the company. Victor Herrero took over as CEO, but he too threw in the towel at the end of 2021. A new restructuring plan has now been deployed, and until a new CEO is hired, Johnny Chen, vice-president of LionRock Capital, has temporarily assumed the role.
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