Billabong's Naude Resigns
Paul Naude, Billabong International Ltd.’s longtime director and president of Billabong’s Irvine, Calif.–based Americas division, resigned from the surfwear giant, it was announced Aug. 5.
Naude left the company to pursue other opportunities, according to a Billabong announcement. With Sycamore Partners, a private-equity firm, he had recently mounted a bid to take over the Australian-headquartered company.
On July 17, Billabong announced that it accepted a rival offer from Altamont Capital Partners, another private-equity firm. Altamont put together $294 million in refinancing, which would allow Billabong to repay some of its large debt. Launa Inman, who served as Billabong’s CEO since May 2012, also stepped down. Scott Olivet, a former chairman and chief executive officer of the Oakley label, was named Billabong’s new chief executive officer and managing director as part of the deal. However, he has yet to take the chief’s chair, due to a complaint filed with The Takeovers Panel, an Australian government peer review body that handles corporate-takeover disputes.
The complaint was filed by late bidders who allege that the Altamont deal was unfair. A Billabong statement forecast that the dispute would be resolved shortly. Peter Myers, Billabong’s chief financial officer, is currently helming the company. Olivet is working as a consultant.
The South African–born Naude has been a popular executive in the surf world. He started his career as a surfboard shaper. Many core surf retailers and analysts of the action-sports industry said Naude intimately understood the surf culture, which is a foundation for making product that will be respected in this sometimes hard-to-please community. Naude also serves on the senior advisory board of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, the Orange County, Calif.–based trade group for the surfwear business.