Paolo Porta, who has been the interim chief at Hunter since joining the company in June 2020, is to take on the permanent CEO position at the British footwear brand.
Porta is a luxury fashion veteran, working in the industry for over 20 years, with roles spanning merchandising, retail, wholesale distribution, brand development and licensing at storied fashion houses including Christian Dior, Stella McCartney and Burberry.
Most recently he spent six years at Capri Holdings-owned luxury label Jimmy Choo where he served as senior vice president of merchandising and licensing before joining Hunter in the summer.
“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,” Porta said in a statement. “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 which blends fashion, innovation and creativity with form and functionality.”
Porta arrived at the bootmaker at a significant time of change and has been credited with steering the company through the early stages of its re-positioning strategy against the difficult backdrop of the pandemic.
Moving forward, Porta will lead Hunter’s “laser-sharp” focus on “product elevation and diversification into all-season, all-weather with constant sustainable practices at the core”.
Also key to the company’s strategy is “a sharpening of the brand identity, a continued prioritisation 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 US, China and Asia”.
Since joining the company, Porta has also made some key hires. Sandra Romboli, who has previously worked at Decathlon, Reebok and Adidas, joined as the brand’s new global design director.
Additionally, Claudia Plant, a former Burberry and Net-a-Porter employee, joined as chief marketing officer.
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. During that period, the brand’s classic Original Wellington boot saw an 89 percent increase in sales.
Porta said: “This is just the beginning for what I know will be an incredibly promising and stimulating next chapter in Hunter’s esteemed story.”
Image: Paolo Porta, courtesy of Hunter