By Claire Reilly

Sampford IXL has today announced the departure of CEO Malcolm Owens from the top job in order to pursue “a more specialised role” within the company.

Owens joined Sampford IXL in January 2008, and is replaced by industry veteran Rob Hoorn, formally managing director of Andi-Co appliances, which distributes the GE, Falcon and Liebherr brands of whitegoods and major appliances in Australia.

Chairman of the company board, Rob Blackwell, welcomed Hoorn as the new CEO, saying that he would be integral in “driving the next stage of Sampford IXL’s development”. Hoorn brings with him more than 20 years experience in the Australian appliance industry.

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Since his appointment as CEO four years ago, Owens has been responsible for overseeing the merger of Sampford and Staff with IXL, including managing the “rationalisation” of the new company’s brand portfolio.

It is not altogether clear what Owens' new role will involve, but the following was provided as way of explanation.

“Malcolm Owens has informed the board of his desire to pursue a more specialised role within Sampford IXL and in order to do so, the need to step down as CEO of the business to dedicate his focus and time to this new role.”

Despite the mystery, chairman of the board Rob Blackwell thanked Owens for his contribution to the company.

“The board greatly values the significant contribution made by Mr Owens as CEO of Sampford IXL and his commitment to progressing the business,” said Blackwell. “We look forward to continuing the prosperous working partnership albeit in a new and exciting role.” has sought comment from Sampford IXL regarding the reasons for Owens’ departure and the responsibilities of his new position.