Written on the 17 March 2016 by Nick Nichols


ONLINE action sports retailer SurfStitch has recruited from within following the surprise resignation of Justin Cameron (pictured left) last week as CEO.

Company co-founder Lex Pedersen (pictured right) and SurfStitch's European boss Justin Stone have been named joint CEO's of the Gold Coast-headquartered company.

The move fills the corporate vacuum left by co-founder Cameron who quit his $1 million-a-year job to pursue a possible private equity buyout of the group.

No news has emerged on the proposal since last week's announcement, although US-based TSG Consumer Partners has been rumoured to be a likely contender for the buyout.

"The company reiterates that it has not, to date, received any formal or informal proposal from, nor has it had any discussions with, private equity in relation to any potential acquisition of the group and there is no certainty that any proposal or approach from any party may be forthcoming," says SurfStitch in a statement to the ASX.

In the meantime, the company will be managed by both Pedersen and Stone, who came on board in 2014 when SurfStitch acquired Surfdome ahead of the company's $350 million share float on the ASX.

Pedersen is managing director and president of the company's US-based online division SWELL. Stone is managing director of Europe, his primary area of expertise and SurfStitch's largest revenue earner by region.

"The appointment of Lex Pedersen and Justin Stone is an important step forward for the business," says SurfStitch chairman Howard McDonald.

"Lex and Justin have significant experience in the industry and have been intimately involved in setting and executing the group's strategy to date, and are therefore natural successors to lead the group.

"The company is in a strong position with numerous opportunities ahead of us and we are confident that Lex and Justin are the right combination to lead the business into the next phase of its profitable growth strategy."

SurfStitch shares took a pounding following the release of the company's interim profit report last month, falling below their $1 issue price at one point after the company withdrew is full-year guidance.

News of a possible buyout by private equity boosted the shares last week as high as $1.40.

Pedersen yesterday talked up the company's prospects under the new management team.

"I am excited by the opportunity to take SurfStitch to the next level," he says.

"We are both incredibly passionate about the business and are committed to executing the company's strategy, driving innovation for our customers and delivering value for our shareholders".

Stone says progress has already been made in developing the company's global online platform.

"(It) is enabling us to deliver on our consolidated retail vision," he says.

SurfStitch has revealed that the employment contract with Cameron has ended following his departure last week.

Cameron was paid $1 million as CEO in 2015, a figure that comprised a base salary of $220,000 and a cash bonus of $730,195.


Author: Nick Nichols





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