Breville confirms departure and replacement of general manager, hunt for new CEO continues

Departing Breville GM Jeremy Sargeant.

Departing Breville GM Jeremy Sargeant.

Breville has confirmed the impending departure of general manager Jeremy Sargeant, who will leave the publicly listed small appliance company on 28 December 2014 to take up a new role outside the industry. Sargeant joins former CEO Jack Lord as a recent high ranking exit from the iconic Australian company.

In addition to its own brand, Breville also distributes Kambrook and some Philips and Nespresso appliances.

“During his tenure, Jeremy has provided leadership, direction, stability and guidance to Breville Australia resulting in Breville securing the market leadership position in the core kitchen category in Australia,” said Breville interim CEO Mervyn Cohen.

“On behalf of the board and senior management team, we want to thank Jeremy for the significant impact he made to the group and wish him all the success in his new position.”

Sargeant joined Breville in early 2007 as the general manager of sales. In 2011, he was promoted to Australian general manager. Prior to Breville, Sargeant worked at Pacific Brands and Gazal.

Replacing Sargeant as general manager will be Mark O’Kelly.

Mark O'Kelly

Mark O’Kelly

“O’Kelly joins Breville with strong vision, leadership and operational expertise gained in Australia and internationally in related industries,” Breville said in a statement. “His most recent role was general manager Luxury and Lifestyle at DKSH Australia encompassing homewares, watches and luxury accessories. O’Kelly also held various senior positions in and out of Australia including a period of more than 13 years with McPhersons, ultimately as managing director of McPherson’s Consumer Products worldwide.”

Also a publicly listed company, McPherson’s has over past 24 months embarked on a major entry into the appliance industry, acquiring Home Appliances, Think Appliances and Lemair, meaning it now wholesales the Euromaid, Baumatic, Fagor and IAG brands, among other appliance and non-appliance assets. O’Kelly worked at McPherson’s until 2009, which actually preceded the company’s acquisition of these appliance brands.

Although Breville’s most recent financial year was largely positive, posting a net profit after tax of $48.8 million, the impact of its loss of Keurig’s distribution facility in Canada was fully realised. Shortly after the announcement of this 1.9 per cent year-on-year decline in net profit after tax, CEO Jack Lord resigned. At the company’s recent AGM, chairman Steven Fisher addressed the issue of Lord’s replacement, saying, “The search for a new CEO is progressing well with a number of outstanding candidates being presented to the Board”.

Opinion/Analysis

Jeremy Sargeant has long been a great friend of Appliance Retailer, regularly contributing to features and discussion in our magazine and on our website. Most recently, he contributed to our Mid Year Report Card and Influencers series, on behalf of Breville, discussing the threats and opportunities present in the market.

Thanks to Jeremy for always making the time to contribute; everyone at Appliance Retailer wishes you the best!

This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell

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