La Jolla Group, Inc. (LJG) announced that Michael Pratt, chief financial officer and SVP strategy, was promoted to chief executive officer. Daniel Neukomm, CEO since May 2013, assumes the role of executive chairman.
“Michael has been a key component of our leadership team over the last four years, navigating the global pandemic, solidifying LJG’s strategic direction and delivering record financial performance,” Neukomm said. “I look forward to partnering with Michael in La Jolla Group’s next chapter as we drive profitability and sustainable growth across our family of brands, while also making significant investments to expand our ‘platform as a service’ offering to accelerate growth for our consumer businesses. Originally assuming responsibility for LJG when it was struggling, I am proud to pass my CEO responsibilities to Michael and the team who helped me turn things around.”
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead a talented group of individuals in the next phase of our growth and want to thank Daniel and the Board of Directors for the trust placed in me to manage through the challenging environment that lies ahead,” Pratt said.
Prior to La Jolla Group, Pratt spent ten years working in strategy and finance roles at Nike and No Fear. He began his career on Wall Street advising consumer clients on mergers, acquisitions and capital raising.
In his new role, Pratt will continue to partner with Josh Wellington, COO, to drive profitable growth across La Jolla’s family of brands and businesses. “La Jolla Group is a family-owned business, and I am excited about the partnership between Michael and Josh as they lead the next stage of growth, allowing me to focus my efforts across a wider variety of activities,” said Neukomm.
To support the leadership transition, Allen Zakharin was promoted to vice president, finance and will oversee all financial aspects of the business. Zakharin has driven the financial performance for the company and implemented an enterprise performance management application, ensuring the prioritization of accurate forecasting and cross-functional alignment capabilities. Previously Zakharin led financial planning and analysis at Mophie and held leadership roles at Oakley, including corporate FP&A, wholesale finance and demand planning.
Mike Jones was promoted to vice president, planning & analytics. Jones has structured a planning and analytics organization for the company to support multiple brands across DTC and wholesale channels. Previously, Jones was director of global brand operations for the SWIMS brand at Centric Brands and spent six years at Deckers Brands as head of planning for the Sanuk and UGG brands. Jones began his career in planning at the Disneyland Resort.
In the back half of 2021, LJG hired Kelvin Toulmin as vice president of operations to support Josh Wellington in driving operations for the company. Toulmin brings 30 years in supply chain operations roles both domestic and worldwide, having supported both high growth private business and billion-dollar public brands. Most recently Toulmin drove strategies at Stussy and TOMS.
LJG also added a Director of Production & Sourcing and a Director of Quality Assurance roles and committed to material investments in systems to strengthen its product development processes.
“These investments will allow us to continue to deliver exceptional quality and value to consumers and our retail partners,” said Chief Operating Officer Josh Wellington.
LJG has held the license for the O’Neill brand since 1993 and designs and distributes the Voyager brand globally and Hang Ten apparel in the U.S. under license. La Jolla Group also invests in, and provides shared services, to grow consumer businesses, including PSD Underwear and Spiritual Gangster.