Feb 1, 2021
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Smythson CEO exits for new role, parent firm chairman steps in

Feb 1, 2021

Smythson has lost its chief executive. Xavier Rougeaux has left the luxury leather goods brand after two years to take up a new, as yet unknown, post elsewhere. The company had filed an announcement at Companies house last month but gave no details at the time of what its plans were.


But we know now as Jacques Bahbout has stepped into the breach. He’s chairman of Italian accessories giant Tivoli Group, Smythson’s parent company since 2009. 

A Smythson spokesman told The Telegraph: “Xavier has decided to give a new direction to his life and career and has relocated to mainland Europe to take up a new position. Jacques Bahbout will supervise the first line management of the business.

“Our focus remains on the acceleration of our digital first strategy and we have reshaped our team to deliver this.”

This includes a focus on selling more smaller items such as diaries and notebooks, as well as its core bags and briefcases online after “exceptional growth” in its digital business this year, the company also said.

Although Smythson’s next trading statement isn’t due to be published until the end of March, the business had been struggling before the pandemic hit. So the news of its focus on digital sales looked to be a good move and should reflect healthier sales and an improving bottom line.

It posted a rise in pre-tax losses, to £7.8 million at the end of last March compared to a £6 million loss in the previous year. Sales at the time fell 1% to £36.2 million, a performance it said was "below expectations".

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