BikeExchange co-founder Sam Salter has temporarily stepped into the company’s CEO role, following the abrupt resignation of Mark Watkin from the position.
The Melbourne-based company last week issued a statement announcing Mark was stepping down, effective immediately, but would remain with the company in the short term to ensure a smooth handover.
“As an investor and shareholder in BikeExchange, I remain a strong supporter of the company, its people and strategy,” Mark says in the statement.
In an update on his LinkedIn page, Mark says: “For me personally, after five years, now is the right time to move on from my role. It has been an absolute privilege to lead BikeExchange and I am proud of what we have achieved together during this time.
“I am particularly proud of our journey from a private company through a successful IPO to become a publicly listed company in 2021, which opened a new chapter and opportunities.
“My passion for our purpose has never shifted. The fundamentals of what we aim to do – make it easy to buy and sell all things bike – is something I firmly believe will be achieved by getting as many people as possible onto a bike.
“I am thankful for the support the Board, executive team, and our teams across the global regions have offered during my tenure. In particular I thank Sam Salter and Jason Wyatt, the co-founders of BikeExchange for the opportunity to lead the business they started. I will miss the power and spirit of the entire team and look forward to seeing you continue to grow as the leading online marketplace of all things bike.”
The company declared it would immediately begin the process to appoint a permanent CEO.
In the meantime, Sam’s “innate knowledge of the company and wider bicycle industry positions him well to see the business through this next phase”.
“Sam will continue to have a focus on driving strategic partnerships with major industry brands,” the statement says.
On the same day the company announced Mark’s resignation, BikeExchange (BEX) issued two additional statements.
Legal Challenge Against Kitzuma
One confirmed a complaint has been filed in the US General Court of Justice – Superior Court Division, against its subsidiary Kitzuma Group.
“The complaint has been filed on behalf of Tribike Transport and alleges the use of the plaintiff’s confidential and proprietary information by certain founders of the Kitzuma business in the operation of Kitzuma Group,” BEX says in a separate statement.
“The plaintiff is seeking unspecified monetary damages and the prevents of alleged further infringement by the company through a preliminary and permanent injunction.
“BikeExchange believe the allegations are without merit and will vigorously defend against the complaint. The business remains unaffected with the legal proceedings are in process.”
The second statement announced BEX had requested a trading halt of the company’s securities on the Australian Stock Exchange, pending an announcement by the company about a material equity capital raise.
The news comes as BEX has experienced a 83.45% decline in its share price over the past 12 months, including a 58.88% fall during the last three months, to $0.04.
BEX has confirmed steps to significantly cut employment costs, as it rolls out its new operating model.
It announced long-term BikeExchange (BEX) employee Ryan McMillan has been appointed as the business’s chief operating officer, aligned with the operating model rollout.
“Ryan has been with BikeExchange for over 10 years and founded the company’s European region,” the company says.
“Over recent years, Ryan has finetuned our EU operations, leading the region to become our most successful and high performing. It is this operating model we are rollout our globally.
“He is deeply attuned to every element of the BEX business.
“Execution of the new operating model has commenced, including significant reductions in employment costs.”
The CEO of specialist bike delivery service Kitzuma, which BikeExchange purchased late last year, is stepping up his role in the North American operations of the two businesses. The Kitzuma co-founder, Taylor Essick, will focus on industry, sales and strategy for the combined businesses.
“Taylor has a deep knowledge of the industry and the opportunities that collectively exist across BEX and Kitzuma,” the company says.
Sam, Ryan and Taylor will continue to be supported by the existing leadership team:
• Chief customer officer – Rebecca Boxall
• Global head of seller & merchant success – Joe McArdle
• Chief financial officer – Andrew Demery