With a focus on international sales, Breville Group appoints experienced American as new CEO

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New Breville Group CEO Jim Clayton.

New Breville Group CEO Jim Clayton.

The Breville Group has appointed CEO! After an 8-month global search conducted by Korn Ferry, Jim Clayton has named Jack Lord’s successor and he take his new post on 1 July 2015. The Breville Group supplies its eponymous brand of small appliances, along with Kambrook, Nespresso and selected Philips appliances.

Since Lord stepped down in August 2014 and until Clayton’s ascension, CFO Mervyn Cohen will continue to be Breville’s interim CEO. Breville Group’s most recent financial disclosure showed revenues of $293.9 and net profit after tax of $29.7 million for the six months 31 December 2014.  These figures were, respectively, up 5.6 per cent and 4.9 per cent on the half year prior.

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

Clayton graduated from the University of Texas (the fightin’ Longhorns) in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Law Degree. After two years’ practising law at Scott, Douglass & McConnico, he switched to business consultancy, working as an engagement manager at McKinsey. Four years later, in 2001, Clayton joined Symphony, a private equity firm based in Silicon Valley. In 2009, Clayton left Symphony to join LG Electronics, working across the Growth Platforms and Home Entertainment divisions, achieving the title of executive vice president. It was from this position, based in Seoul, South Korea, that Clayton was recruited to lead The Breville Group.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead Breville, an iconic brand in Australia that has established a solid foundation for growth, both domestically and internationally,” Clayton said. “Breville is respected by its peers and is always searching for innovative ways to make home appliances aspirational: high quality, easy to use, true to purpose, beautiful in their design, and also hard-wearing. The Breville team has impressed me with their energy, capability, and level of commitment for delivering market-leading products and service to their customers.”

In his new role, Clayton will be paid $800,000 per year, plus short- and longterm performance-based incentives. For comparison, Sunbeam CEO Karen Hope received around $250,000 per year, including entitlements and incentives. Breville Group chairman Steven Fisher said Jim Clayton’s experience and knowledge of international markets made him an ideal leader for a company focused on increasing overseas sales.

“Jim is an experienced executive with a strong background in consumers products, technology and innovation,” Fisher said. “He also brings with him a track record of success in international markets that are key to Breville’s growth.

“Breville’s Food Thinking strategy is to make the home cooking experience a premium experience through a combination of innovation and superior quality products. Jim’s mandate will be to build on this strategy by expanding bout our culinary touchpoints with the consumer and our global presence.”.

At the 2014 International CES, our good friends at Engadget interviewed Jim Clayton about LG’s then new smartband. It’s hard to read too much into such a micro topic as first generation wearables but it is encouraging to see that Clayton has a near encyclopaedic knowledge of the device LG was promoting that day. When asked about how he had spent that CES, Clayton said in many meetings, showing he can match the high level ‘big picture’ thinking with the intimate product knowledge so highly valued in the Australian appliance industry. You can watch the whole interview here:

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