What does your role involve?
As the CEO my role encompasses setting very clear direction for the business and it’s my expectation – but also my pleasure – to observe that no matter which 2XU office you sit in around the world, you know our business goals. I have 12 direct reports across all functions and geographies of the business and my role is to ensure that each of the people who work directly with me are supported to ensure they’re successful.
What's the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge in my role is handling the global scope, in particular because at 2XU right now we’re doing so much at once. 2XU is a company that has many product categories and operates in more than 70 countries around the world – in many of these countries we’re initiating really substantial growth projects.
What's the proudest moment?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is seeing the business grow, both in terms of dollars and also the size and culture of the team. I’ll be immensely proud of developing 2XU from what is known at the moment as a small Australian-focused brand renowned for elite endurance running and triathlon to a brand that is still known as an Australian brand but one that is a truly global sports performance brand. In particular, to develop the brand in a way that it is known around the world as the most premium sports performance brand – that’s a wonderful goal.
What's a big change ahead for the group?
A really big change for us is knowing we need to design for the consumer. That doesn’t just mean understanding the consumer segments better, but also understanding differences in consumer segments across the world. To help with that we’ve moved from a single design centre in Melbourne that designs for the world to now having design centres in Melbourne, Hangzhou, Tokyo and Seoul, and that’s going to help us deliver product that’s not only the world’s best in terms of performance, but also brand-right and locally appropriate.
What about the broader industry?
I think what’s happening between the fashion and sportswear industries is really interesting. Ten years ago you’d be asked if you were a fashion brand or a sports brand. There’s absolutely no doubt that to be successful as a sports brand you also need to be highly fashionable. 2XU’s own market research tells us that not just athleisure consumers, but also runners, team sports players, high intensity gym training consumers and elite endurance athletes all express a need to look good and feel good.
The idea of a spectrum where fashion is at one end and sports performance is at the other end is ridiculous – being fashionable is imperative within the sports performance world. I see that over the next decade there will be a sophistication of the market – we won’t go back to non-performance products, but we’ll retain some of the technical features of current products such as movability, breathability and moisture protection and see a sophistication in design, so it won’t look like you’ve just been to the gym.
What’s also interesting is who’s going to drive that – is the technology and design language solely going to come out of sportswear companies or will it be a merger between fashion and sportswear brands?