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Mike Russell, Chamilia's new general manager across Australia and New Zealand
Mike Russell, Chamilia's new general manager across Australia and New Zealand

Chamilia appoints former Prouds CEO

Chamilia appointed Mike Russell as general manager for Australia and New Zealand as the US-based brand prepares to invest heavily in the region.
Russell joins Chamilia after a varied career as CEO of both jewellery and clothing brands.

The new Chamilia GM served five years at the helm of Prouds Jewellers between 2001-2006. In April 2007 Russell was the inaugural CEO of The Jewellery Group when private equity firm Quadrant acquired the Zamels and Mazzuchelli’s operations.  He then joined Paddy Pallin, an importer and wholesaler of travel and adventure gear.

“After five years at Prouds I have fond memories of the industry,” Russell said. “My experience has given me the ability to hit the ground running here at Chamilia.”

Russell comes into the role after the American company established a wholly owned subsidiary of its American parent and opened a Sydney office in June this year,. 

Russell told Jeweller that Chamilia places great importance on strengthening the brand across the Australian and New Zealand markets.

“We’ve recognised Australia as our third largest market (behind the USA and Europe) and are prepared to invest heavily,” Russell said. “We plan to be here for a long time. It’s not a sprint for Chamilia, it’s a marathon.” 

In the role for approximately six weeks, Russell’s immediate intention is to nurture strong relationships with Chamilia’s stockists throughout the Australian and New Zealand regions.

“I want to reconnect with our loyal stockists by listening, understanding and working with them,” Russell said. “It’s important that we improve two-way communications with retailers.”

Russell added that it’s important for brands like Chamilia to bond with stockists, as there’s no intermediary standing in the way of the retailer and its product.

“Global brands like Chamilia need to understand the mentality of local retailers and also local consumers,” Russell said. “As retailers now know, we provide them with the product, so they get a larger margin and there is no more middle man.”

Chamilia President and CEO, Michael Paxton said the team is excited about Russell’s appointment.

“We are thrilled to have Mike join the team and are very excited about the future of the brand on the Australian and New Zealand market,” Paxton said.

After being approached by the company and flown to the US to meet with Paxton and chief development officer, Michael Flaherty, Russell was impressed by Chamilia’s organisational culture and growth.

“Despite the dynamic growth, Chamilia has retained a great culture and there is a lot of excitement through the company,” Russell said. “For me it’s all about the people you work with and as an outsider I was very impressed with the business.”

As previously reported by Jeweller, Chamilia has averaged 70 per cent growth annually for the past five years.

More reading:
Chamilia establishes Australian subsidiary
Chamilia joins Swarovski for new collection

Product information: Chamilia 

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