LONDON — Alasdhair Willis is leaving Hunter after seven years as creative director, but will stay on as a senior adviser to its parent company, Atypical Partner.
Willis’ departure is the latest in a series of changes to rain down on Hunter, the British rubber boot and outerwear brand: Earlier this month, the company opted for a recapitalization rather than an outright sale, announced a management reshuffle and set a strategic review.
The recapitalization saw an existing shareholder, Pall Mall Legacy, become the majority owner. Other investors include Searchlight Capital and Pentland.
Willis plans to become a senior adviser to Atypical Partner, the umbrella company that controls Pall Mall Legacy. Atypical said that Willis will advise and collaborate on current and future portfolio companies.
Mauro Morretti, founder of Atypical, said Willis brought “incredible creative flair and drive” to Hunter, its products and collaborations. “We are very fortunate to have him support Atypical, and look forward to putting his gifted mind to new opportunities across our portfolio, as a senior adviser,” he said.
Willis was part of a push to take Hunter upmarket and into new categories. Today, non-footwear accounts for up to 40 percent of sales in Hunter’s key markets.
He was responsible for the brand’s slick ad campaigns, move into stylish outerwear, and marketing moves such as floating a giant green Hunter hot air balloon, shaped like a boot, more than 22 cities in Europe and the U.S. The latter market accounts for 40 percent of sales.
Under his watch, the company also pivoted from runway shows in London to consumer-facing marketing events on the outdoor festival circuit.
During his tenure, Hunter set strategic collaborations with brands including Stella McCartney on a sustainable rubber boot, Dover Street Market, Target, Peppa Pig and Disney.
As reported, Paolo Porta has become interim chief executive officer of the brand while a search for a new, full-time ceo takes place. Porta was formerly senior vice president of merchandising and licensing at Jimmy Choo.