Staying on: The Iconic managing director Adam Jacobs.
From running nine countries and 2000 people as head of Groupon Latin America, to about 250 people at a slimmed-down The Iconic in just Australia, Patrick Schmidt’s appointment is a sign of the Samwer brothers’ seriousness in turning around the performance of their online fashion retailer.
Schmidt, a co-founder of Groupon Australia, would be well known to the Samwer brothers, whose German-based Rocket Internet group is a major backer of The Iconic.
The Samwers started a European clone of Groupon’s group buying business shortly after it launched in the US. That business, MyCityDeals, was later sold back to Groupon and Oliver Samwer joined Groupon’s board in the process.
As The Australian Financial Review reports, Schmidt’s first priority will be to stem losses at The Iconic, which has been cutting costs and staff numbers to reduce overheads.
Launched in August 2011, the Iconic lost $44.7 million in the 16 months to December 2012 on sales of $30 million after outlaying $20 million in wages, $20 million in marketing costs and $9 million in production costs.
Company accounts lodged in May revealed it had a net assets deficiency of $4.6 million and was dependent on the support of its backers, which include Rocket Internet, Germany’s Verlinvest, JPMorgan and Summit Partners.
Schmidt’s appointment follows the departure of The Iconic’s co-chief in Australia, Finn Haensel, back to Germany. His offsider, Adam Jacobs, is staying on as managing director.
The Iconic claims its website is attracting three million visits per month, and that its iOS app has received 10,000 downloads a day since launching last week.
Jacobs was not immediately available for comment on Schmidt’s appointment, and whether it involves a bring-forward of The Iconic’s target date for profitability in Australia.