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SurfStitch chairman Howard McDonald to depart

The change continues at SurfStitch, with the company announcing chairman Howard McDonald will retire on August 1.

Sam Weiss, who joined the company’s board in June, will replace McDonald as chairman.

“The last four months since the surprise departure of the former CEO have been highly challenging for management,” McDonald said. “However, the appointment of CEO Mike Sonand in May is already having a very positive impact on the business and our leadership team, which can now focus on rebuilding what is fundamentally a great business.

“Sam Weiss has an extensive track record in technology, online retailing and digital marketing across global markets, as well as in corporate restructurings. The board and management team are firmly aligned in their focus on restoring shareholder value,” McDonald said.

Weiss paid tribute to McDonald’s leadership of the company, particularly over the last few months.

“I made the decision to join SurfStitch after extensive discussions with my fellow board members, all of whom have been deeply engaged in the company and have worked with the executive leadership team to begin the process of rebuilding,” Weiss said.

“I am in no doubt that the company has benefitted from Howard McDonald’s stewardship during this difficult period, including filling the leadership void left by the former CEO and communicating to the SurfStitch team globally. The board wishes to thank and acknowledge Howard’s significant contribution to SurfStitch over the last two years,” he said.

Meanwhile, SurfStitch’s new MD Mike Sonand has two tasks: stabilise the business and conduct and strategic review of operations with a focus on the key revenue drivers to put the business on a path of profitable growth in FY17.

“Since my appointment on 9th June the executive team has prepared a stabilisation plan and we are in the process of implementing that plan, which includes the restructure of our North American operation, Swell,” Sonand said.

The company will cut 40 jobs by October 2016 as part of the US restructure.

“The company’s second priority is to undertake a full strategic review of SurfStitch’s assets, business units and other investments,” Sonand said. “Once completed, this will provide a roadmap for management to fulfil the strategic vision of the company to become the leading global online platform for surf and related businesses.”

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