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New USA & Global CEO Appointments At Rip Curl

October 19, 2006

New USA & Global CEO Appointments At Rip Curl

The Board of international surfing company Rip Curl announces three major changes to its senior executive team.

Firstly, leading American surf industry figure Kelly Gibson has been appointed President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rip Curl USA (RCU).

Californian-born and raised, 42-year-old Kelly has a very strong surfing and surf industry background. He has been surfing for more than 30 years, as a 17-year-old winning the 1982 USA National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Open Championship. He then turned professional, competing on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour and the US Pro Tour through the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1992, Kelly changed his life path, joining the surf industry as a sales representative for a number of leading brands in a range of product categories. In 1999, Kelly joined O’Neill Clothing USA as National Sales Manager. A year later he was appointed to Vice-President of Sales & Marketing. In 2001 he was promoted to O’Neill’s senior executive ranks and in 2002 was appointed President, a role he relinquished today. Kelly said of his Rip Curl appointment: “I’m stoked to be joining the Rip Curl crew. Rip Curl is a global powerhouse and I look forward to the challenge of bringing the company’s global momentum to the US market.”

Kelly will take over for David Lawn, the Rip Curl Group CEO since February 2003, who has also been CEO of the US business for the past two years. David does not intend to return to Torquay in his other role as Group CEO. Instead he will return to Melbourne to pursue another career path. Rip Curl Group (RCG) Board Chairman James Strong said: “David’s clothing industry experience has been a major asset to Rip Curl over the past four years and we thank him for his contribution, and wish him well for the future.”

Current RCG Director Francois Payot has been appointed to replace David as RCG CEO. Francois has been with the company since 1982 when he established Rip Curl in France. As a surfer from a young age, he travelled the globe chasing waves, and over the past two decades he built Rip Curl into one of the leading surf brands in Europe. He has also held leadership positions in some of the sport’s governing bodies, serving as a director of ASP International and ASP Europe, most recently as President of Euro Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA).

Francois said of his new Rip Curl role: “Any fear of the unknown quickly vanished because there is no unknown – Rip Curl, the surfing environment and the people have been in my life for ever. I have already had the luck to take part in the creation and development of Rip Curl in Europe. If this challenge is new because of its scope and its environment, I know it for having already lived it. Managing Rip Curl, being part of its history and now building its future is an honour I hope to be worthy of.”

James Strong concluded by saying: “The major outcome of these changes is we have significantly bolstered our leadership team to implement the next exciting phase of Rip Curl’s global development. Rip Curl remains a privately owned company, with our whole attention directed towards building our current business.”