In a statement, Billabong CEO Neil Fiske said he asked Leasure to step in to the interim role, effective immediately, as he continued a strategic review of Billabong’s operations globally.
“Ed is a highly successful entrepreneur and recognised leader in the surf industry with a track record of success in every business he has led,” said Fiske.
“He’s also been involved in every aspect of our business — wholesale sales, retail, merchandising, operations, and branding. He has good merchant skills, has walked in the shoes of our specialty retail accounts, and knows how to build businesses.”
Colin Haggerty, who was asked by the board to step into the role on a temporary basis in December 2012, is returning fulltime to his role of focusing on Billabong’s retail operations.
Leasure has been in the surfing industry for more than 30 years, opening surf chain, Quiet Flight, with his brother in 1979. According to US reports, Leasure was among the first licensees to carry Billabong products in the US. In 2008, Billabong acquired Leasure’s 14-store chain as part of its retail expansion strategy.
“With 30 years of Billabong experience, I’m just as convinced of the potential today,” said Leasure.
“It’s a period of transition for the company here but the breadth and depth of talent we have across the team combined with a commitment of resources to build the business makes it a very exciting time to step into this role.”