LONDON — James Seuss will step down as chief executive officer of Hunter later this month to pursue a new opportunity, WWD has learned. Hunter has confirmed that Seuss will leave his post toward the end of November.
An interim leadership committee has been established to manage the business in line with the strategy until a successor is found.
The committee will comprise members of the existing senior management team: Alasdhair Willis, creative director; Benedict Smith, chief financial officer; Julie Rafferty, product and sourcing director, and Wendy Svarre, ceo and president, Americas.
The company said the search is currently underway for a candidate “to lead Hunter through its next phase of growth.”
The company’s chairman Oliver Haarmann said that under Seuss, “the business has continued to see high sales growth and increasing brand awareness through a transformational period for the brand.”
As reported in September, Hunter has been gaining traction under its strategic private equity investors Searchlight Capital Partners, with sales and profits up for the 2014 fiscal year.
In the 12 months to December 31, pre-tax profit rose 5.5 percent to 15.4 million pounds, or $23.4 million, while sales were up 17 percent to 95.7 million pounds, or $145.4 million.
During the year, Hunter opened its first flagship, on London’s Regent Street, and established a joint venture with Itochu in Japan to develop the brand in that market. A second flagship is set to open in Tokyo next year.
The brand also said it made significant investments in a new, multilanguage, multicurrency e-commerce platform; and in the development of new product categories, IT systems and the operational infrastructure.
In September, Seuss said important progress was made in developing Hunter from a single-product business into a global lifestyle brand.
The Hunter Original brand was launched at London Fashion Week in February 2014, and now includes footwear, outerwear, knitwear and accessories, as well as rubber boots. Hunter Field, a specialist performance category, launched earlier this year.
Prior to joining Hunter, Seuss served as ceo of multibrand watch retailer Tourneau LLC, and held a similar title at Cole Haan, where he worked from 2006 to 2010. He has also held top management positions at Harry Winston Diamond Corp., Gucci Group and Tiffany & Co.