Wedgwood chief leaves to take top role at Lee Cooper

Wedgwood’s most senior marketer, Paul Hick, has joined Lee Cooper as its new chief executive at a time when the jeans market is suffering a slump in sales.

Hick has quit the upmarket table and giftware manufacturer, where he was managing director of international operations, to join Lee Cooper at the beginning of September.

As the company’s first chief executive, he will take some responsibility from Lee Cooper chairman Chris Burnett. His appointment completes the company’s group team.

Last month Lee Cooper, which sells 0.29 per cent of the UK’s jeans, appointed Chris Hardy group marketing director. He moved from Lloyds TSB, where he was a marketing consultant. The appointment filled a three-year vacancy.

Sales of jeans fell by 14.3 per cent between May 1997 and May 1998, according to AC Nielsen figures obtained by Marketing Week.

Branded jeans manufacturers have been hit by increased demand for designer jeans, the rise in own-label jeans, and the growing popularity of streetwear, such as combat trousers.

Hick has worked at Wedgwood for two years. Prior to that he worked in the marketing departments of Allied Distillers and Pernod-Ricard.

At the end of last year, Wedgwood announced plans to expand beyond its traditional exclusive image with the launch of a new corporate identity and ranges of cheaper, trendier and less exclusive tableware.

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