24 Jun 2021

Icebreaker chief makes switch to carpet and wool company Cavalier

5:52 pm on 24 June 2021

The former chief executive of merino clothing company Icebreaker is heading to the strong wool sector.

Greg Smith is the new chief executive of Cavalier.

Greg Smith is the new chief executive of Cavalier. Photo: Supplied

Greg Smith will take up a new role as chief executive of the New Zealand carpet and wool company Cavalier in July.

The listed company last year announced it would stop producing synthetic carpets and would shift to wool-only.

Cavalier chair George Adams said Smith had extensive international business experience, running iconic New Zealand companies and helping them to scale on the world stage.

"His proven business acumen, natural leadership skills and visionary thinking make him the ideal person to lead Cavalier forward."

Strong wool accounts for about 85 percent of New Zealand's total wool clip but prices have been low for years, leaving farmers unable to cover the cost of shearing.

Smith said for Cavalier to thrive, the coarse wool industry needed to be in good health and it wanted to help drive better returns for farmers.

"At the end of the day if the strong wool industry doesn't see that value return then we don't have a product to sell in the first place, so there needs to be a strong alignment between growers and manufactures and brands."

He said at Icebreaker, they had been able to find a harmony between what's sustainable and profitable for fine wool farmers and also good value for consumers.

Smith said consumers were looking for a story about the origin of their product and that would be important for Cavalier going forward.

"When you start to understand the origin, right back to the start of the supply chain and where this product has come from and in particular some of the [wool] growers that are taking part.... those types of stories carry a fair deal of emotion."

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