Launa Inman has been named managing director and chief executive officer of Australian surfwear company Billabong International Ltd. She succeeds Derek O’Neill, who left the firm Tuesday.

This story first appeared in the May 10, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Inman, who was appointed a retail advisor for Billabong in February, has been charged with driving Billabong’s turnaround strategy. Prior to joining the firm, Inman was managing director of Target Australia for seven years.

“Launa has proven leadership capabilities in managing and delivering results in challenging environments and uncertain times. Launa’s appointment recognizes the tremendous importance retail has assumed in our business,” said Ted Kunkel, chairman of Billabong.

According to Inman, “We need to continue to drive our turnaround strategy, moving to a fully integrated operating model powered by the strength of our brands. The first priorities of the turnaround strategy will be to extract greater value from our retail network and strengthening supply chain management. This will provide the opportunity for Billabong’s family of brands to meet their full potential.”

O’Neill, who had been with Billabong for over 20 years, had been ceo since 2003, prior to which he was general manager of Billabong’s European operations.

In a related move, Paul Naudé, currently head of North American operations, has been named to the expanded role of president of the Americas. He will add responsibility for the South American market, in addition to his U.S. and Canadian duties.

In February, Billabong rejected its third takeover bid from private equity firm TPG Capital. The company said at the time it was prepared to discuss other offers with TPG or other parties.

The Australian-based surf and sportswear company owns and sells brands under its flagship name, as well as Von Zipper and Tigerlily in more than 100 countries.

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