Kathmandu appoints chief customer officer following CMO departure

Paul Stern announces his departure after 10 years overseeing marketing, sustainability, online and international operations

Paul Stern
Paul Stern

Kathmandu has appointed its first chief customer officer following the departure of long-serving marketing and online chief, Paul Stern.

Stern told CMO that after 10 years working at the adventure clothing and products retailer, it was time for a fresh challenge. Stern was most recently the general manager of marketing and online, and has also during his tenure been responsible for international operations, business development and sustainability.

“Now is a good time, with the Kathmandu business performing well and a period of change at Kathmandu following the acquisition of Rip Curl,” he said. Kathmandu acquired ASX-listed Rip Curl last October for $350 million.

For Stern, key achievements include growing the online business from $2 million to $50 million and achieving eight consecutive years of double-digital sales and profit growth with P&L responsibility, launching Kathmandu’s Sustainability Plan and helping the business become BCorp certified, leading a brand identity refresh program and taking the helm to grow the business internationally.

These and many other efforts led Stern to be regularly featured in the CMO50 of Australia’s most innovative and effective leaders, most recently in 19th position.

Kathmandu CEO, Reuben Casey, thanked Stern for his contribution to growing the business.

“During his time at Kathmandu, Paul led the brand refresh program post Kathmandu’s listing, he led Kathmandu’s Sustainability strategy which has included BCorp certification, and overseen our online business from its infancy at about $1 million in annual sales in 2010 to $50m in 2019,” he said in a statement.

“This has been a very important part of our growth at Kathmandu over the last 10 years. Paul has always been a passionate and dedicated leader in the business representing our Brand internationally and was most recently recognised in Australia’s CMO50 list of most innovative and effective marketing leaders.”

Kathmandu has now confirmed it’s bringing on a chief customer officer to take up the mantle and customer remit, appointing Eva Barrett to the post. The role sees Barrett returning to Australia after 15 years working in global brand roles for the likes of Fosters Group, Philips and most recently, as global head of brand communications and sports marketing for Adidas’ Heartbeat Sports division. She started her career in marketing manager in Australia at Globe International.

“Eva’s experience and expertise will accelerate our transition to being a global brand from an Australasian retailer and strengthen even further our focus on customer centricity,” Casey said.

As for new professional challenges, Stern said he’s planning to stay in Melbourne and look for broader opportunities that utilise his wide-ranging skillset.

Prior to joining Kathmandu, Stern spent near five years as GM of marketing at Kmart. His resume also marketing roles with AS Watson Group and Schweppes Australia.

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