New blood for Billabong

Beleaguered surfwear giant Billabong has lured former Just Group chairman Ian Pollard to take the lead as chairman elect this month.

The company, which has recently been the target of two takeover bids, confirmed the appointment, with Pollard set to take on the role as a director and chairman elect on October 24, following the company’s annual general meeting.

Pollard will also chair the Audit Committee on an interim basis, following the retirement of board member Allan McDonald on October 24, 2012.

Pollard is an actuary, Rhodes Scholar and a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has also held a wide range of senior business roles including chairman of Just Group Limited and of Corporate Express Australia Limited and as a director of OPSM Group Limited and DCA Group Limited, which he founded.

In addition, he is currently chairman of RGA Reinsurance Company of Australia Limited, a director of Milton Corporation Limited and of SCA Property Group, and an executive coach with Foresight’s Global Coaching.

Current chairman Ted Kunkel earlier this year announced his intention to retire from the Billabong board after seven years in the role.

However, he will remain in his current role pending the outcome of the formal process to evaluate change of control proposals announced on September 6, 2012, and, in the event Billabong continues as a publicly listed company, to ensure a smooth board transition process.

Commenting on his replacement to the Billabong chair, Kunkel said he is confident he is leaving Billabong in good hands.

“Ian will bring a strong mix of commercial and financial expertise to assist with the ongoing transformation of the Billabong business,” he said.

“His understanding of the retail environment along with a strong focus on financial management and performance will serve the company and shareholder interests well.”

Similarly, Pollard said he is looking forward to working with the board and CEO Launa Inman as the company continues to roll out its transformation strategy, as previously reported on ragtrader.com.au.

“While the global economic environment remains challenging the inherent recognition and strength of Billabong’s key brands positions the company well,” Pollard said.

The company said that while the search process to fill the role of chair of the Audit Committee on a permanent basis is well advanced, an appointment is unlikely to be made until the outcome of the formal process is known.

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