THE Australian government has announced the appointment of Xavier Simonet as the new CEO of Austrade, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

Mr Simonet is currently group CEO and managing director of Kathmandu Holdings, which comprises the Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz brands, and has previously held the roles of CEO of Radley London and International Director of Seafolly Group. He also worked for 11 years for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Minister for trade Simon Birmingham said Mr Simonet’s appointment comes at a time when Austrade had a critical role to play in helping Australian businesses to maintain global supply chains, export to more markets, help the tourism and education sectors to recover while also attracting game-changing investment.

“As our key agency for promoting Australian trade, investment and education to the world, and developing tourism policy, Austrade’s role in providing advice and support to Australian businesses has never been more important, as they continue to face enormous challenges,” Mr Birmingham said.

“Mr Simonet will bring proven and strong leadership to Austrade, as it plays its part in helping Australian businesses to navigate through and bounce back from this significant period of economic and trade uncertainty.”

The Minister said Mr Simonet will bring business acumen and broad experience in international business development having previously worked across Europe, the US and the Asia Pacific.

“Bringing a distinguished career in brand sales and marketing, international market development and acquisitions, I am sure that Mr Simonet’s extensive knowledge and wide international experience will serve Australian businesses well,” he said.

“Born and raised in France, Mr Simonet and his family have chosen to make Australia their home, where he has worked for iconic Aussie brands like Seafolly and Rip Curl.

“He brings a passion for Australia found in many a convert alongside an international perspective that will help to identify the right opportunities and messages to boost Australian sales around the world.”

Mr Birmingham also thanked the acting CEO, Tim Beresford, for his strong and effective leadership of Austrade during these very challenging times.

“I look forward to Mr Beresford’s continued contribution as deputy CEO. Once again, I place on record my gratitude for the contribution of former CEO Dr Stephanie Fahey.”