British heritage footwear and outdoor brand Hunter has confirmed that Alasdhair Willis is stepping down from his role as creative director on July 31.
Willis, who has been creative director at Hunter since 2013, will stay on as a senior advisor to Atypical Partner, the umbrella company controlling Pall Mall Legacy, Hunter’s new majority shareholder. In this role he will “collaborate with, and advise, current and future portfolio companies,” explained Atypical Partner.
During his tenure at Hunter, Willis introduced a new brand vision and strategy for the wellington boot company, including expanding the footwear business, while also developing it into more of a global lifestyle brand with new product categories. This included the heritage brand making its London Fashion Week debut and collaborating with brands including Disney, US retailer Target, and Peppa Pig.
WIllis has been credited with helping the brand diversify its category offerings, which led to record revenues in 2019 of 113.8 million pounds up 9 percent, helped by strong sales growth across the bag and apparel categories, with non-footwear accounting for up to 40 percent of sales in Hunter’s key markets. The business also developed its own e-commerce, which now generates about 30 percent of global sales and established itself internationally, with continued growth reported last year across North America, Europe and Asia.
Commenting on his departure, Willis said in a statement: “I feel truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with this unique brand, and even more fortunate that I was able to create a new and successful chapter in its history.
“I am very thankful to the whole team at Hunter for playing their part in this amazing journey and wish them, and the brand, every success in the future.”
Alasdhair Willis exits Hunter, becomes senior advisor to Atypical Partner
Mauro Morretti, founder of Atypical Partner, added: “Alasdhair brought incredible creative flair and drive to Hunter, its products and the unique collaborations he has been able to bring to life.
“All of us will remember for a long time the Wellington boot hot air balloon travelling around the globe. We are very fortunate to have him support Atypical and look forward to putting his gifted mind to new opportunities across our portfolio as a senior advisor.”
Willis is the latest exit from Hunter since the brand secured 16.5 million pounds in funding following a period of poor trading due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hunter announced earlier this month that, by mutual agreement, Vincent Wauters, the current chief executive would also be standing down from his role on July 31.
Wauters will be replaced by Paolo Porta, who was named interim chief executive officer, while a search for a new, full-time chief executive takes place. Porta was formerly senior vice president of merchandising and licensing at Jimmy Choo.
Hunter is currently conducting a full strategic review of its business to ensure “long-term sustainable and profitable growth” following that cash injection. The business has a 160-year heritage of designing footwear and outerwear and holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Image: courtesy of Hunter