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Redbubble CEO ousted, founder returns in interim role

Barry Newstead has left Redbubble, the online marketplace for art and design, just 18 months after being named CEO.

In a statement to the ASX, the board said it had undertaken a review of the company’s strategy and operations and determined a change in leadership was necessary.

“We wish to thank Barry for his contribution,” Richard Cawsey, Redbubble chair, said.

“Barry has been an important part of the business since 2013, having previously served as COO, and then as CEO for the past 18 months. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

Redbubble founder and former CEO Martin Hosking will lead the ASX-listed company while it conducts a global search for a new long-term CEO.

The announcement comes ahead of the release Redbubble’s half-year results next week, which are expected to be in line with expectations.

This marks a quick turnaround from December last year, when the company issued a trading update that growth had been slower than expected and that it would need to “pull all levers” to deliver the best possible FY20 result.

But on Tuesday, Cawsey said Redbubble’s fundamentals remain strong.

“We are a market leader in our industry and have a unique business that is difficult to replicate, with strong fundamentals and a demonstrated growth strategy,” he said.

“The company’s focus must be on core business and investing in the opportunities before the company. In the coming periods, that investment will focus on continuing the current growth initiatives, including accelerating the new product launch cycle and realising the opportunities provided by the quickly growing Fan Art partnerships.”

Cawsey said Redbubble’s operating revenues grew 25 per cent year on year in the first half of FY20, and it had positive cash flow. Business performance in the first six weeks of 2020 has also been encouraging, he said.

Newstead said he was proud of his track record at Redbubble, especially leading the acquisition of US-based rival TeePublic and achieving the first positive operating EBITDA as a listed company.

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