Linden Leaves hires new CEO

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 07:47 26/09/2012
Peter Allard
APPOINTED: Linden Leaves' new chief executive Peter Allard.

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Christchurch-founded Linden Leaves has appointed a new chief executive to drive the skincare company's growth in overseas markets.

Already exporting to Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, Linden Leaves now has its sights set on China.

Founder Brigit Blair said the company was poised for growth and needed an extra pair of hands to focus on growth and expansion in overseas markets.

New chief executive Peter Allard starts his job on October 1. Allard is a former managing director of textile company Charles Parsons NZ, and former chief executive of skincare company Living Nature.

Blair said the decision to create a chief executive role was due to the company's growth plans.

"It's something we've given a lot of thought and consideration to and decided we needed someone with experience and passion and ability to guide us to the next level." Small businesses could get very busy doing their day to day operations and a chief executive would help guide them towards their long-term goals, she said.

Linden Leaves has just sent its first shipment of products to China, after two years of research into that market.

The luxury body and skincare products will be distributed by boutique fragrance company Scent Library, which has 27 stores in China.

"It's just a very nice fit and a very nice size for us, because we're never going to be mass market, but we can grow with them," Blair said.

"Within the first year we would be targeting to send $1 million of product up there."

In Asia, Linden Leaves now exports to Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Korea and Japan and together with China it was "a very nice cluster to have", she said.

"At the minute it's all hands on deck because it's Christmas time, and that's our busiest time in New Zealand.

"Christmas starts in October now for retailers, so at the minute we are well in need of a CEO to keep us all sane and on the right path."

Blair founded the company in Christchurch in 1995 but its head office has since moved to Auckland.

Now a multimillion-dollar company, Linden Leaves opened its first overseas standalone store in Germany in July. The European market was not easy, Blair said, but the German business was making "good progress" and was growing there.

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