Umbro expects…

What’s happened?

Simply put Stephen Makin is to leave his old job on the operating board of
Asda after landing himself the plum position of chief financial officer at
Umbro, the sportswear manufacturer that just happens to have the contract to
supply the England football team with its kit. And in World Cup year too.

CIMA-qualified and only 36, Makin leaves his post at Asda and Wal-Mart after
15 years for one of the most high profile jobs in the sporting business arena.

His previous posts have included director of controlling, plus commercial
financial director, which captured the multi-tasking hell of being responsible
for strategic planning, business development, commercial finance, financial
control and accounting. After demonstrating he could manage all that, Asda
promoted Makin to its operating board.

What’s next?

Well, there should be celebration in the air for Makin come annual results
time. Though he doesn’t start until August, the whistle will be blown on the
World Cup in June and should prove the company’s banker for the year. And that’s
good news for Makin because he’ll be pulling together the figures for
presentation in the new year, an opportunity for grabbing a little bit of glory,
even though he wasn’t around for the kick off.

And the World Cup will have to pay. Umbro banks on big competitions. When the
current CFO Geoff Haslehurst revealed the 2005 sales of £351.9m, it was
accompanied by a note that it was 1.2% down on the previous year, though still
‘a significant achievement in a non-tournament year’.

That’s a bit of worry if sales keeping falling off when there’s no big
competition around and part of Makin’s job will be to draw on his retailing and
strategic planning experience to help bump up the numbers between events.

With that in mind, he will also be instrumental in making sure Umbro
capitalises properly when tournaments do happen. Expected shirt sales are a
sensitive market issue for Umbro – but when the cup finals come around, the
shirts have got to be shifted.

One of Makin’s first jobs will be planning for the 2008 European
Championship. A new shirt will be needed, as will a new marketing campaign to
make sure they sell. The England team is, as you might expect, a marketing gift
when it comes to sales. As long as they keep making it through to the finals.
Makin will be acutely aware of this, because Umbro has the contract to make
England kit until 2014.

Key facts & figures

  • Wholesale equivalent sales for 2005 were up 1.2% to £359.9m on 2004
  • Sales of 670,000 pairs of shoes during 2005 in the US
  • Former CFO Geoff Haslehurst earned £293,000in 2005
  • 2006 order book for England licensed products already ahead of actual sales
    for 2004l Profit before tax for 2005 was £31.4m, up from the loss in 2004 of
  • Umbro has the contract to make England kit until 2014 and supplies the balls
    for all FA Cup matches
  • The company also supplies the national sides of Republic of Ireland, Sweden
    and Norway as well as more than 140 club sides

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