(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Van de Velde has named Erwin Van Laethem, a Belgian executive with about 27 years of experience exclusively in the energy industry, as its new CEO.
He starts on September 1 and “after an induction period he will formally take over” from the current chief, Ignace Van Doorselaere “no later than 1/1/2017,” according to the firm.
Hopefully four months will be enough, since at Van de Velde, “all the company’s attention is focused,” as it notes on its website, on “figure-fixing and fashion in the luxury lingerie segment.” The Belgian-based firm owns the PrimaDonna, Marie Jo, Andres Sarda intimate apparel and swim brands as well lingerie retail chains in Europe and the 12 Rigby & Peller stores in the U.S.
The same year he finished his schooling with a degree in civil engineering and an MBA, Van Laethem began his career at Shell in 1989. After working there for 17 years in a variety of positions, he joined Essent as CEO in Belgium in 2006. There, according the Van de Velde, he transformed that company “into the undisputed leader on the Dutch energy market, creating differentiated brands, growing the customer base and earning the recognition of the wider community with a number of prestigious awards. Alongside his position as CEO of Essent, in 2014 Van Laethem was also appointed chief innovation officer at RWE Group, Essent’s parent group.” RWE is a leading power generating and energy trading conglomerate.
Of the appointment, Herman Van de Velde, chairman, declared, “I am confident that he is the right person to ensure the sustained success and further development of our business.”
The departure of current CEO Van Doorselaere had previously been announced months ago.
In fiscal 2015 Van de Velde reported net income of 41 million euros (about $45.1 million at today’s exchange rates) on sales of 209 million euros (about $230 million). According to a recent statement from the company, “Consolidated turnover of Van de Velde in the first half of 2016 rose by 0.4% (from €113.4m to €113.8m). On a like-for-like basis (including comparable season deliveries) consolidated turnover is up 2.6%.”
Meanwhile, as BODY reported earlier this month, sales at Rigby & Peller, formerly the Intimacy chain in the U.S., fell by 27.7% in the first half of 2016, in part because of the closure of “loss making stores.”
The chain’s losses appear to be accelerating, with even the remaining locations suffering a “Decrease of retail turnover in the U.S. by 17.7% on comparable basis, both in local currency as well as in Euro,” stated Van de Velde. Last July we reported the U.S. chain was operating in 15 locations after closing one shop earlier that spring. For the first half of 2015, Van de Velde, had reported “A fall in retail turnover at Intimacy by 4.7% (10.3% on a like-for-like basis) in local currency.”
Van de Velde as a whole stated in the latest announcement that it works “with 5,000 specialty lingerie stores worldwide,” noting that “our geographical center of gravity is Europe and North America. We recently added China, Hong Kong and the Middle East to that mix.” — NM
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