Last of Icebreaker off to Auckland

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 27/05/2014

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Merino empire Icebreaker is moving the last remnant of its Wellington head office to a new Auckland HQ set to open in December.

The move comes after Icebreaker last year relocated its Wellington-based marketing staff to Auckland.

Icebreaker founder and chief executive Jeremy Moon said a new "global headquarters" in Auckland would create a unified base of operations to accommodate long-term expansion and a growing international customer base. "Sales have tripled in the last six years, with sales projected to exceed $200 million in 2014 - 80 per cent of these sales are now in Europe and North America."

Moon said all Wellington staff would be offered roles in Auckland.

"Our Global team currently numbers 435, with 50 in Wellington and 25 in Auckland. By the end of the year we expect our team in Auckland to grow to 80."

Icebreaker had failed to find a way to successfully run operations from both Auckland and Wellington, which had caused "many restless nights" for Moon, who set up the company from his Roseneath flat in 1995.

"Our long-term future is about growing the international markets and the key success factor to that is the depth and breadth of the team we can build to service our international brand from New Zealand.

"When you are taking on a challenge with the scale that we are, distributed across 40 countries from our seven offices around the world, we have to simplify and unify. We are here to have an impact on the world from New Zealand."

Despite Icebreaker abandoning the capital, Moon said the decision should not be seen as ammunition for the "Wellington is dying" argument sparked a year ago by comments from Prime Minister John Key.

"Our hand has been forced due to our scale and long-term global ambition."

Moon said he retained a "very deep connection" to the region.

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