By Gavin Evans
Jan. 10 (BusinessDesk) - Michael Hill International has named Andrea Slingsby as its new chief operating officer.
Slingsby, a consultant, has been working with the jeweller since August as interim chief people officer. In November, that newly-created role was given to Joanne Matthews, who joins the firm next week.
Chief executive Daniel Bracken, who himself only joined the firm in November, said Slingsby brings more than 25 years’ experience in Australian and international high-growth sectors to the business.
He particularly cited her experience in “business model improvement and operational excellence” as a major benefit to the firm.
Slingsby’s most recent roles were running Lighthouse8, an artificial intelligence and marketing technology business, and Atira Student Living.
The stock was recently unchanged at 65 cents - down 52 percent in the past year.
Brisbane-based Michael Hill makes and sells jewellery in New Zealand, Canada and Australia – its largest market. Early last year it shut its 10-year-old US chain amid declining sales and after failing to find a buyer. It also quit its three-year-old Emma & Roe business.
Bracken replaced Phil Taylor, who in September gave six months’ notice of his intention to retire after more than 30 years with the firm due to ill-health.
The following month the company told shareholders it needed to transform itself from a traditional retailer to a “differentiated omni-channel brand” if it was to remain globally relevant.
That change would require a greater focus on on-line sales, greater use of data and analytics, and more focus on proprietary, branded products.
Adding that capability – including the new roles taken up by Slingsby and Matthews – was expected to increase operating costs by about A$3 million in the current financial year, the company said in October.