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Animal boss to exit company

Boardsports brand Animal is on the hunt for a new chief executive after current boss John Stockton, who has spent eight years in the role, said he planned to step down.

Animal has appointed Kevin Keaney from within the business as interim managing director until a replacement for Stockton is found. Stockton will remain at the company to oversee the process to recruit a permanent chief executive, who is expected to be in place before the end of the year.

Stockton will also help to recruit a replacement for the company’s head of international sales, Chris Clark, who has left to join Pentland Brands in a similar role.

During his tenure, Stockton helped build up the business to a 60-store chain as well as a brand with a substantial wholesale network across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Animal sells snowboarding, surfwear and mountain-biking clothing with a more UK-focused design ethic than its international rivals.

Stockton said the business would continue with its store opening plans both in the UK and overseas. The company also has franchise operations in the Middle East.

Stockton plans to stay in the industry and said he was considering several options. “The eight years have been brilliant but there comes a time where you have to move on and try to do other things. In the meantime, the business is trading well.”

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