April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Esprit Holdings Ltd. appointed Thomas Tang as chief financial officer as the Hong Kong-listed apparel company seeks to recover from an earnings slump that cut its share price 73 percent last year.
Tang, 56 and previously CFO at Sino Land Co., Sino Hotels Holdings Ltd. and Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Ltd., will start at the retailer from May 2, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Chew Fook Aun, his predecessor, announced his departure from Esprit in December, saying he was unable to spend enough time in Europe. Chew will step down on May 1, Esprit said.
Esprit, which said in September that its brand had “lost its soul”, reported a 74 percent drop in first-half profit in February. The biggest clothing retailer listed in Hong Kong is attempting to offset declining sales in Europe by adding 40 to 50 stores in China, Chief Executive Officer Ronald Van der Vis said in an interview in Hong Kong in February.
“It’s a positive sign just by appointing somebody because Esprit needs to fill the gap that Chew Fook Aun left,” said Mohan Singh, an analyst at Citic Securities International. “Tang also has good background working for a real estate company and it should help Esprit in revamping its store portfolio.”
Esprit shares climbed as much as 2.3 percent to HK$16.30 before trading at HK$16.20 at 9:56 a.m. local time. The stock is now up 62 percent this year compared with a 13 percent gain for the benchmark Hang Seng Index. Chew’s resignation sent Esprit’s stock plunging 11 percent on Dec. 6.
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Prior to joining Sino in 2003, Tang was a managing director of an investment and financial advisory services firm that’s a member of an international group, overseeing operations in the Asia-Pacific region, according to yesterday’s statement. He started his career as an accountant at Peat Marwick, now KPMG, in London and Hong Kong, it said.
Chew was appointed CFO in February 2009. He previously held the same position at Link Management Ltd., manager of the Link Real Estate Investment Trust. He was Kerry Properties Ltd.’s CFO from 1996 to 2004.
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