Loss-making retailer Esprit Holdings will replace its chief financial officer Thomas Tang, effective Oct. 21, the company announced on Wednesday. Johannes Georg Schmidt-Schultes will assume the role.
The brand, which is undergoing a comprehensive restructuring of its business, cited the need for the cfo to be based in Europe as the reason for Tang’s departure.
“The strategy plan has now moved into a phase that requires the group chief financial officer to be based in the group’s core operations in Europe to timely implement and supervise the strategy plan,” a statement from the company said. “Mr. Tang has decided to resign as he is unable to station in Europe for the new role of group chief financial officer.”
Tang, the brother of the late Sir David Tang, has been with the company since 2012. His successor, Schmidt-Schultes, most recently served as the cfo for the building materials manufacturer BMI Group Holdings U.K. Ltd. Before that, he held positions at industrial companies Apleona Group and Semperit AG and with telecommunications firms Telstra and T-Mobile.
Esprit appointed Anders Kristiansen in June last year as its ceo, after a five-year turnaround attempt by previous ceo José Manuel Martínez Gutiérrez failed to take hold. In the year to June, the company reported a loss of 2.14 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $273 million, and company revenue stood at 12.9 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $1.6 billion.
During that same period, Esprit closed 169 nonprofitable stores and trimmed headcount for non-store employees by 28 percent.
“We have taken tough but necessary decisions, and in the process, we unfortunately have had to say farewell to many of our good colleagues,” Esprit chairman Raymond Or wrote in the most recent letter to shareholders.
Changes at the brand include a sharpening of its brand image away from fast fashion and discounting, a redo of the product collections, and completely exiting the Australian and New Zealand markets. In August, Esprit began testing a concept store in Beijing with roll out in other countries to follow.
Kristiansen has stated that it is his goal to get the company earnings before interest and taxes to break even by fiscal year 2021-22.