Following the announcement that Thomas Grote will leave the company in June 2009, Esprit Holdings Ltd. has confirmed that Heinz Krogner will step down as Group CEO. Ronald Van der Vis has been named Krogner’s successor and will be appointed Executive Director on Jun. 22, 2009. Following a transition period Van der Vis will be appointed Group CEO on or before Nov. 1, 2009.

In his future role as Executive Director and Group CEO, he will assume responsibility for the total Group with a special focus on the Esprit brand. Current Chairman and Group CEO Heinz Krogner will resign as Group CEO upon Van der Vis succeeding his role as Group CEO. Krogner will actively participate as Executive Chairman to ensure a smooth transition and intends to remain Executive Chairman through December 2010. Krogner will continue his strategic involvement in steering the company’s success as well as providing leadership to the Board.

Van der Vis has 11 years of brand building and retail experience in an international environment. Since 2004 he has been the Group CEO of Pearle Europe, a leading international retail group operating 2,600 stores (600 of which are franchise stores) in 24 countries with sales of €1.5 billion.

“Ronald is an excellent match for the Esprit family, both in terms of business background and personality. His appointment as Esprit’s new Group CEO is particularly based on his successful international retail experience. Since over 50% of Esprit’s sales is based on wholesales to independent stores, it is important that Esprit is headed by a CEO who understands the requirements of our retail partners. We are confident that Ronald will provide outstanding leadership for our company,” said Krogner.

—Melanie Gropler