Oroton Has A New CEO, Months After Shareholders Complained About Executive Salaries

Oroton boss Sally Macdonald has resigned suddenly, amid a board reshuffle and tough trading conditions.

The luxury fashion brand today revealed that Macdonald would step down immediately, to be replaced by Mark Newman, who was most recently the Vice President of Ralph Lauren Australia and New Zealand.

Newman will receive a base salary of $650,000 – just over two-thirds of what Macdonald was paid last year – and a bonus package worth $550,000, based on 2014 company targets, company performance and his personal performance.

Macdonald last year received a base salary of $960,000 – up from a base salary of $546,000 the year prior. Oroton shareholders raised concerns over her payrise at the company’s annual general meeting last November.

Oroton said today that its change of leadership represented “the successful implementation of the company’s succession planning program”.

Former CEO Ross Lane also stepped down as executive chairman today, while audit committee chairman John Schmoll stepped up to the role of non-executive chairman, and director Eddy Chieng was appointed audit committee chairman.

Newman takes the helm at a tough time for Oroton; shares are down 2.61% today and about 12% year-on-year after its 23-year exclusive distribution license with Ralph Lauren expired in June.

Ralph Lauren accounted for 45% of Oroton group sales and 35% of net profits, and the license’s expiry prompted Oroton to issue a 2014 profit warning earlier this month.

Newman now faces the challenge of filling the gap – starting with a new Brooks Brothers joint venture, also announced today.

Here’s what outgoing chief Macdonald told Fairfax’s BusinessDay:

I think after seven years in public life, its a good time to move on and give everybody momentum here.

I also feel pretty proud of the record of 25% compound growth in profit over the last seven years and in taking Oroton from what I think was a 21-store business to a 70-store plus business in five countries, soon to be six.

I’m very confident this is a good time and a smooth transition for Mark to step into the role and put his own stamp on Brooks Brothers as we develop and launch that.

[…]

I’m very much focused on operational CEO roles – I’m 43 and really keen to continue to manage companies – and in transformational change.

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