Bissell CEO outlines 2008 plans for Australian subsidiary

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Mark Bissell, the chairman, president and CEO of Bissell Inc, has outlined a new path for the floorcare brand in his first visit to the Australia during an exclusive interview conducted earlier today.

Bissell, the fourth generation chief executive of the seventh-oldest privately owned manufacturing company in the United States which commenced trading in 1876, is in Sydney to launch new products at a high profile retailer event at Forty-One Restaurant this evening.

Bissell ended its five-year distribution arrangement with ED Oates in May this year and has since set up a dedicated subsidiary, Bissell Australia, with floorcare veterans Jeff Kelso and Jeff Gardner appointed as managing director and national sales manager respectively.

“We’ve been in Australia for several decades and have used different business models including agents and subsidiaries and as a result, we have gone full circle at least once,” Bissell told Current.com.au today.

“We have parted company from ED Oates who did a great job for us early on and after being acquired by GUD took a different direction.

“We see this as an opportunity for us to re-establish ourselves and we have picked up the people that made this business successful in the first place.”

Bissell confirmed that the local subsidiary will introduce a broad range of products that include carpet cleaning, upright and barrel vacuum cleaners, steam mops as well as specific products for allergy sufferers and pet owners.

The products use a wide variety of technologies to deliver their cleaning applications including spot cleaning, deep carpet extraction, steam cleaning, vacuum cleaning, water filtration and shampooing.

“Based on our experience in other markets, carpet shampooing is the entrée into the market, we also have a nice line of supporting products including vacuum cleaners, hard surface cleaning products, handheld products, chemicals and other accessories,” he said.

“I am very excited about the new team and I feel that through our understanding of the consumer and the innovative product we have to back it up, I think we have a great growth opportunity. It takes time to build a brand and our brand still has traction, but I think we need to crank that up a bit.”

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