Justin Hillberg, managing director of shared services of SurfStitch-owner Alquemie Group, is stepping down from his role leading the surf brand’s restructure at the end of this week.
“While leaving was a difficult decision, the timing for an exit feels right for me and the business,” Hillberg said.
“The Alquemie Group remains in a very strong position with exciting plans for the future and a strong executive team that is focused on delivering growth.”
Hillberg told Inside Retail the bulk of the work tied to the restructure is now complete, and the group is now set up for future growth, creating a good time to allow someone else to take the reins. The Shared Services department he helped to set up will oversee operations in SurfSitch, Lego, Ginger & Smart and Pumpkin Patch, as well as help to enable new acquisitions moving forward.
Hillberg joined SurfStitch as merchandise manager in 2014, before becoming general manager in 2015 and managing director in 2018. Officially, Hillberg ceased as SurfStitch’s managing director in October after taking on his current role at Alquemie Group in August.
In a conversation with Inside Retail earlier this year, Hillberg said SurfStitch had never been in a stronger position after rebounding from a difficult 2019, caused by the Christmas Bushfires that ravaged much of Eastern Australia.
“We had a change in leadership and we had a lot of different challenges that we were facing even before Covid hit,” Hillberg said.
“[But] right now we’re in a position where we’ve never been healthier. We’re delivering record profits back to our shareholders and we’ve never been in the position to do that in the history of SurfStitch.”