GARGOYLES RETOOLS EXECUTIVE TEAM
Byline: Kristi Ellis
LOS ANGELES — Gargoyles Inc., a sunglasses and eyewear manufacturer based in Kent, Wash., said last week that it has implemented senior level management changes and settled a lawsuit with Hobie Designs Inc.
Cynthia L. Pope, former executive vice president and general counsel for the company, has been named president. Pope, who was instrumental in the company’s restructuring efforts over the past three years, will assume responsibility for operations, marketing and product development. The post of president is new.
The company also named Patricia Howell vice president of marketing and Mike Hall vice president of operations. Howell previously held marketing and merchandising posts with Starbucks Coffee International and Hall was most recently chief operating officer of Ride Snowboard Company.
Pope and chief executive Leo Rosenberger joined Gargoyles in early 1998 as a turnaround team.
“The company — along with many eyewear companies at the time — ran into cash flow problems in 1996-1997,” said Pope. “The top line was great but the bottom line was horrible.”
In 1997 Gargoyles posted a loss of $14 million on sales of $41 million. After a year of restructuring, the team scaled down the loss in 1999 to $400,000 on sales of $33 million.
Fiscal yearend results have not yet been announced but Gargoyles posted net income of $507,000 on sales of $28.5 million for the nine-month period ended Sept.30.
Pope said that the firm’s major growth vehicle this year is licensing programs. Gargoyles launched four licensed Wrangler eyewear lines in January. The firm also recently launched Idol-Eyez, a line of licensed components with Nascar and Nascar drivers.
In related news, Gargoyles announced that it had settled litigation with Hobie Designs. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to increase royalties paid to Hobie for use of the trademark and to increase minimum net sales levels. The terms of the agreement did not change, and Gargoyles continues to have a long-term license with Hobie.
As a result of the settlement, the company reevaluated its investment in the Hobie license and anticipates posting a noncash net asset impairment charge of approximately $2 million in the fourth quarter of 2000.