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Pandora in turmoil, CEO quits amidst job cuts

Just two days after announcing “organisational adjustments”, Pandora’s CEO and president Anders Colding Friis has given notice of his resignation.

Friis announced he will leave the company on 31 August after three-and-a-half years at the helm. The resignation came hot on the heels of Pandora announcing it would cut almost 400 jobs in a bid to achieve its 2022 strategy.

“We have made important progress on our 2022 strategy since we launched it last year, and are on the right long-term direction for Pandora,” Friis stated in the company release.

“Pandora has nearly doubled in size the past three years, and our ways of working have also grown rapidly and resulted in different organisational set-ups in different parts of the company.”

Anders Colding Friis, Pandora CEO and President
Anders Colding Friis, Pandora CEO and President

Evidently, these new organisational changes included a managerial restructuring, as Friis withdrew from his position within 48 hours of this announcement.

The company statement announcing the job cuts, released on 7 August, revealed that 397 of Pandora’s 27,000 employees would be sacked, 218 from its Thailand offices and stores. The statement claimed the cuts were to “align functions across the company, support strategic priorities and protect profitability.”

It also announced a more modest forecast in revenue, re-estimating an increase of 4-7 per cent, rather than its previously guided 7-10 per cent. The organisational changes are expected to reduce annual costs with around DKK 150 million (AU$314 m).

Jeremy Schwartz, former chief executive of The Body Shop, will step in as acting chief operating officer until the appointment of a new CEO. It appears to have been well received. Company shares rose as much as 9 per cent following Schwartz’s appointment after having plunged 24 per cent on Monday when the company’s initial outlook was revealed.

Further reading: For Pandora Jewellery, arrogance is a two edged sword

In a statement, Peder Tuborgh, chairman of the board of directors said: “The board recognises the important role Anders Colding Friis has played in leading the company and in particular in developing and articulating the right new strategy assuring the future success of Pandora. Pending the appointment of a new CEO, I am delighted that we have Anders Boyer (CFO) and Jeremy Schwartz on board to take the lead.”

It is unknown what changes, if any, will be made in Australia.

Brien Winther, former Pandora Australia managing director
Brien Winther, former Pandora Australia managing director

However, the company recently made a number of organisational changes, some of which have disrupted the local market and the company’s retailers. In June Pandora announced it would cease distribution of its products to an estimated 100 Australian and New Zealand stores. In 2016, Pandora closed more than 500 accounts in the US and Canada.

That same month, Brien Winther announced his impending retirement as the UK managing director for Pandora and said he would return to his homeland Australia, citing family reasons.

Winther spent 18 months in the UK role and seven years in total for the Danish jewellery brand, having previously held the position of managing director of Australia and New Zealand. His last day in the office will be 13 September.

More reading
For Pandora Jewellery, arrogance is a two edged sword
Pandora: the beginning of the end
Pandora Australia closes more accounts
Pandora, Michael Hill report increased sales
Pandora sales fall short of expectations

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Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 04:11am
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