Hunter announces new CEO and brand strategy

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Hunter is pleased to announce the appointment of Paolo Porta as its chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Porta: repositioning Hunter

Prior to joining Hunter in June 2020, where he has been serving as interim chief executive officer, Porta worked in the luxury fashion industry for over 20 years in roles across merchandising, retail, wholesale distribution, brand development and licensing at houses including Christian Dior, Stella McCartney and Burberry. Most recently Porta spent six years at Jimmy Choo where he served as SVP of merchandising and licensing.

During his time at Hunter so far, Porta has navigated the brand through the early stages of a re-positioning strategy and has steered the company through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Porta’s leadership, from the last quarter of 2020 to date, Hunter saw a 94% increase in e-commerce sales in the UK, driven largely by its rainboot category. The brand’s Original Wellington boot saw an 89% increase in sales, resulting in the product selling out in many of its key sizes.

Porta takes on this permanent position, based out of the brand’s headquarters in London, with a clear and ambitious plan to reposition Hunter as the leading iconic British outdoor lifestyle brand, bridging fashion with quality and functionality. Fundamental to his strategy is a laser sharp focus on product elevation and diversification into all-season, all-weather with constant sustainable practices at the core. A sharpening of the brand identity, a continued prioritisation of direct-to-consumer channels and the ignition of the business globally by consolidating, diversifying and elevating its wholesale distribution network and supercharging growth in the US, China and Asia are also key elements to Porta’s plan.

To help him deliver this strategy, Porta has strengthened his brand and creative leadership teams by hiring experts in their respective fields. In recent months, Hunter announced the appointments of Sandra Romboli who joined as global design director from Decathlon, Reebok and Adidas, and who is charged with setting the creative agenda and expanding and evolving the product aesthetic to create all-season, every-day footwear, accessory and relevant category adjacencies, and Claudia Plant, who joined as chief marketing officer from Burberry and Net a Porter. Together, Paolo and the team will work closely to drive sustainable growth, through a high-quality outdoor product offer, with footwear at its core, delivered through a customer-centric and digital first approach.

Andrew Lawley, chairman of Hunter and operating partner of Atypical Partner, said: “Paolo brings considerable experience in global lifestyle brands and has led the business with calm clarity and decisiveness through the uncertainty created by the pandemic. I am absolutely delighted that he has agreed to take on the CEO role permanently to build on a very strong 2020 result. Hunter is a much loved, recognised and distinctive global brand and is growing rapidly through its digital first strategy and entry into new markets including the Far East.  We also welcome Claudia and Sandra to the company and we look forward to working with the entire Hunter team to deliver significant further growth”

Porta said: “I am so proud to be part of this beloved and progressive brand, one which I have long admired and respected from afar for many years. The potential at Hunter is enormous and I am excited to work with the talented team here to deliver our plans to transform it into a global brand which blends fashion, innovation and creativity with form and functionality. This is just the beginning for what I know will be an incredibly promising and stimulating next chapter in Hunter’s esteemed story.”