SCHOLAR TO HEAD SURF WEAR GIANT

SCHOLAR TO HEAD SURF WEAR GIANT

FORMER Rhodes scholar, Dr Ian Pollard, will replace retiring Billabong (ASX: BBG) chairman Ted Kunkel pending the outcome of a possible takeover bid now in due diligence, the company announced today.

Pollard is an actuary and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was chairman at Just Group and Corporate Express, a director of OPSM Group and founder of DCA Group. He is currently chairman of RGA Reinsurance Company and director of Milton Corporation and SCA Property Group.

Pollard comes into the role with optimism, despite the company posting its first loss this year since listing in 2001.

“While the global economic environment remains challenging, the inherent recognition and strength of Billabong’s key brands positions the company well,” he says.

Kunkel earlier this year announced his intention to retire from the Board after seven years in the role.

Pollard is scheduled to take over as chairman-elect and interim chair of the audit committee on October 24. But in making the announcement today, Billabong acknowledged the possibility of a takeover by Boston-based private equity firm TPG International.

TPG is undertaking a due diligence process to determine if it will formally table a $1.45 per share, $695 million offer to buy BBG.

A BBG statement says Kunkel will remain in his role “pending the outcome of the formal process to evaluate change of control proposals . . . and, in the event Billabong continues as a publicly listed company, to ensure a smooth Board transition process."

“Ian will bring a strong mix of commercial and financial expertise to assist with the ongoing transformation of the Billabong business,” says Kunkel.

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