Fyfe appointed CEO of Icebreaker

Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon and new chief executive Rob Fyfe

Former Air New Zealand boss Rob Fyfe has been appointed new chief executive of merino clothing company Icebreaker.

Mr Fyfe, who for the past nine months has been executive chairman of the Wellington-based retailer, will start his new role on Tuesday.

Current chief executive and company founder Jeremy Moon will become ''creative director'' of the business.

Mr Moon described Mr Fyfe as a “game-changing CEO” whose strengths align perfectly with Icebreaker’s global goals.

“It was a big decision for me to hand over our business to another CEO, but I’ve seen Rob’s passion for what we are building at Icebreaker and I really admire his skills, especially with people.  In the end, it was easy for me to put my total trust in Rob.”

Mr Fyfe left Air New Zealand at the end of 2012 after seven years at the helm. He was noted for his innovation, including some risky branding such as one advertisement in which he appeared bodypainted as an airline captain. Mr Fyfe is widely credited as helping improve the airline's fortunes after its $880 million government bailout in early 2002.

Icebreaker was launched in 1995, positioned as "a bridge between city and nature" with crossover appeal to people who don't shop in outdoor stores.

It now has 19 company-branded retail stores, over 4000 wholesale customers, direct eCommerce and over 400 employees worldwide.

Sales have tripled in the last six years and are projected to exceed $200 million in 2014, with 80% of these sales now in Europe and North America, the company says.

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