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Billabong’s Europe boss quits

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Surfwear company Billabong has lost the head of its European business who has quit the company to join US action sports brand Columbia Sportswear as senior vice-president of its European division.

The Australian reports that general manager of Billabong Europe Franco Fogliato has resigned his position and will commence his new role with Columbia Sportswear on November 4.

A Billabong spokesperson said that Fogliato, who had been with the company for more than 10 years, will be replaced temporarily by European retail director Jean-Louis Rodrigues, while chief executive officer Neil Fiske reviews the leadership structure of the group.

Fiske was appointed to the top job at Billabong by US private equity firms Centerbridge and Oaktree last week. This followed the signing of a $368 million refinancing deal with the surfwear company that was higher than an earlier deal that had been agreed with rival US firm Altamont.

The spokeperson said, "Europe has and continues to be a very important market for Billabong," 

"The well-documented economic problems the continent has been facing, including high youth unemployment, has, however, impacted significantly on our business in the last year in particular."

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