Briefs, January 5, 2013 | South China Morning Post
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Briefs, January 5, 2013

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 January, 2013, 3:13am

Vincent Lo joins board of Airport Authority

Airport Authority Hong Kong appointed Vincent Lo Hong-sui, chairman of Shui On, as a director yesterday. Lo replaces Allan Wong Chi-yun, who served his full three-year term on the board. Meanwhile, the authority extended the tenures of Albert Ho Chun-yan and Chan Kam-lam for three more years from January 1. Charlotte So

 

Bebe Stores taps retail veteran as new chief

Women's apparel retailer Bebe Stores named retail industry veteran Steve Birkhold as its new chief executive as it looks to turn around its business amid declines in same-store sales.

The company also reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter sales, hit by a 15 per cent drop in same-store traffic.

Birkhold, who replaces founder Manny Mashouf, joins Bebe from French fashion brand Lacoste, where he was heading its North American business.

The appointment comes three months after Bebe's board said it had started a search for a chief executive.

The retailer, at the time, said it was looking for an executive who could build the brand and lead its strategy of turning into an omni-channel company.

Omni-channel retailing is a structure that enables retailers to speed up their supply-chain operations and enables customers to experience a single mode of shopping whether online, through catalogues or at bricks-and-mortar stores.

Bebe reported on Thursday quarterly sales of US$124.6 million. Analysts on average had expected sales of US$142.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said sales were hurt by lower traffic at stores open for more than a year and the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Same-store sales fell 10.5 per cent in the quarter. Reuters

 

Ex-CFO to head top dental implant maker

Straumann, the world's biggest maker of dental implants, named former finance chief Marco Gadola as chief executive, replacing Beat Spalinger, after sales and earnings declined.

Gadola, 49, will begin the job before April, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement yesterday. Chairman Gilbert Achermann will serve as interim chief executive until Gadola rejoins the company, Straumann said.

At present, Gadola is chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Panalpina Welttransport.

Straumann shares tumbled 56 per cent in Spalinger's 2½ years as chief executive. Sales dropped about 6 per cent in 2011, and analysts predict they rose 0.4 last year.

The recession and unemployment prompted consumers to cut back on discretionary spending. Dental implants typically are paid for out of pocket by patients.

Straumann has also been hurt by the strength of the Swiss franc against other major currencies.

Gadola served as Straumann's chief financial officer and executive vice-president for operations from 2006 to 2008, when he left to join Panalpina, a freight forwarder. Bloomberg

 

Head of global equities at Vanguard resigns

Vanguard, the No 1 mutual fund company, said on Thursday that Sandip Bhagat, the head of a global equity group that oversees about US$1 trillion in assets, has resigned.

No replacement was named. Bhagat's departure came as Tim Buckley takes over as Vanguard's chief investment officer this month. Buckley replaced long-time chief investment office Gus Sauter, who is retiring.

Bhagat, who oversaw all passive, exchange-traded funds and active stock portfolios, left the company to pursue other opportunities, Vanguard spokeswoman Linda Wolohan said.

"The leadership of the equity investment group, which oversees the management of roughly US$1 trillion in assets, is expected to be formally announced soon," she said.

The announcement of Bhagat's departure was contained in one line in a supplement to a prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Reuters

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