Brand ID’s new CEO experienced the growth and tribulations of this sport and outdoor brand distributorship up close over the past eight years as CEO of another company that is part of the Branded Product Distribution division of the listed company Deneb. Ian Hepplewhite not only got to know former Brand ID CEO Wayne Bebb very well (see article), but as CEO of Prima Interactive since 2009, he operated in the company’s same business unit as Brand ID.
Prima Interactive is the distributor of popular interactive game software, licensed merchandise and equipment like Xbox, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive, Take 2 Interactive, Alienware, Leapfrog (educational entertainment), etc.
Before joining Prima Interactive, Hepplewhite was sales and marketing director at Xbox 360 distributor Midigital for five years and before that he was GM of Marketing and Retail Sales at Nu Metro Home Entertainment.
Based in Johannesburg, the Pretoria-educated (B. Com Law at the University of Pretoria and Boys High) CEO regularly travels to the Deneb head office and Brand ID offices in Cape Town. He will also be travelling to international sales conferences of the sport and outdoor brands in his new portfolio.
Sports Trader will report on his plans for the twelve Brand ID brands – including Canterbury, Columbia, Speedo, Skins, Dunlop, Slazenger, Karrimor, Mizuno, Opro, etc. – in a future issue of the newsletter.
Prima Interactive and Brand ID are part of the Branded Product Distribution segment of Deneb. Prima Toys, The Empire Group, Seartec, Limtech, AVT Solutions, OfficeBox and Clever Little Monkey. Operating profit for this segment grew to R15-m from R2-m in the past financial year ending 31 March 2017, although sales dropped R21-m, or 1% to R1.38-bn. The Prima Group – Prima Interactive and the Empire Group grew operating profit 47% from the previous year.