by Stephen Garner
Paolo Porta

Hunter has named Paolo Porta as its new chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Prior to joining Hunter in June 2020, where he has been serving as interim chief executive officer, Porta worked in the luxury fashion industry for over 20 years in roles across merchandising, retail, wholesale distribution, brand development, and licensing at houses including Christian Dior, Stella McCartney, and Burberry. Most recently, Porta spent six years at Jimmy Choo where he served as senior vice president of merchandising and licensing.

During his time at Hunter so far, Porta has navigated the brand through the early stages of a re-positioning strategy and has steered the company through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Paolo’s leadership, from the last quarter of 2020 to date, Hunter saw a 94 percent increase in e-commerce sales in the UK, driven largely by its rainboot category. The brand’s Original Wellington boot saw an 89 percent increase in sales, resulting in the product selling out in many of its key sizes.

Porta takes on this permanent position, based out of the brand’s headquarters in London, with a clear and ambitious plan to reposition Hunter as the leading iconic British outdoor lifestyle brand, bridging fashion with quality and functionality. Fundamental to his strategy is a laser-sharp focus on product elevation and diversification into all-season, all-weather with constant sustainable practices at the core. A sharpening of the brand identity, a continued prioritization of direct-to-consumer channels, and the ignition of the business globally by consolidating, diversifying, and elevating its wholesale distribution network and supercharging growth in the U.S., China, and Asia are also key elements to Porta’s plan.

To help him deliver this strategy, Porta has strengthened his brand and creative leadership teams by hiring experts in their respective fields. In recent months, Hunter announced the appointments of Sandra Romboli who joined as global design director from Decathlon, Reebok, and Adidas, and who is charged with setting the creative agenda and expanding and evolving the product aesthetic to create all-season, every-day footwear, accessory and relevant category adjacencies, and Claudia Plant, who joined as chief marketing officer from Burberry and Net a Porter. Together, Porta and the team will work closely to drive sustainable growth, through a high-quality outdoor product offer, with footwear at its core, delivered through a customer-centric and digital-first approach.

“Paolo brings considerable experience in global lifestyle brands and has led the business with calm clarity and decisiveness through the uncertainty created by the pandemic,” said Andrew Lawley, chairman of Hunter and director of Atypical Partner. “I am absolutely delighted that he has agreed to take on the CEO role permanently to build on a very strong 2020 result. Hunter is a much loved, recognised, and distinctive global brand and is growing rapidly through its digital-first strategy and entry into new markets including the Far East. We also welcome Claudia and Sandra to the company, and we look forward to working with the entire Hunter team to deliver significant further growth”

“I am so proud to be part of this beloved and progressive brand, one which I have long admired and respected from afar for many years,” added Porta. “The potential at Hunter is enormous and I am excited to work with the talented team here to deliver our plans to transform it into a global brand that blends fashion, innovation, and creativity with form and functionality. This is just the beginning for what I know will be an incredibly promising and stimulating next chapter in Hunter’s esteemed story.”