Italtile appoints Lance Foxcroft as CEO-designate

Lance Foxcroft will be taking over from Jan Potgieter when he retires as the Italtile CEO.

Italtile has appointed Lance Foxcroft, who is the currently the CEO of its Ceramic Industries subsidiary, as its CEO-designate with effect from 1 July. Lance will step into the role of CEO in January 2022 after Jan Potgieter’s retirement in December.

Jan said, “To achieve our goal of being the best retailer of tiles and sanitary ware in Africa, the group’s overriding strategy has been to ensure that we control and optimise the shopping experience from factory gate to our customers’ homes by establishing a powerful retail structure underpinned by a formidable integrated supply chain. In the first phase, implemented over the past five years, we have built a strong retail platform by embedding retail expertise and experience in every element of the business. Our brands are each managed by outstanding retail leaders who are equity shareholders in their individual business units. Furthermore, our entire model is based on a reward system which drives retail excellence throughout the business.”

He added that the group is now ready to enter the second phase, which is focused on building manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand for Italtile’s products both in South Africa and the rest of Africa. “The severe disruption of global supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has endorsed our belief that having total control of our own supply chain is critical. The group’s robust performance during the pandemic is testament to the advantage derived from our integrated manufacturing capability.”

Having worked closely with Lance since Italtile acquired Ceramic in 2017, Jan said he is confident that business has appointed the best leader to drive the strategy going forward. “Not only does he have an extremely strong track record at Ceramic, but he has been instrumental in supporting the group’s retail achievements through an intensified focus on fashion and customer service in the supply chain division. Lance’s contribution to the group’s market-leading brand position is evident from the world-class fashionable eco-sensitive products manufactured at Ceramic.”

He concluded that the group’s major capital expenditure projects currently underway and into the foreseeable future are primarily manufacturing and supply chain-based, and accordingly,the time is right for the leadership to reflect this evolution. “As a veteran manufacturer, Lance is well positioned to continue to create shareholder value in the new Italtile era. With chief financial officer Brandon Wood as Lance’s right-hand man, our group is fortunate to have the required calibre of executive directors to take Italtile to new heights.”

Lance joined Ceramic Industries in 2003 and has held a range of senior management positions in the business prior to his appointment as CEO in 2014.

About his appointment, Lance said:

“I would like to pay tribute to Jan for his invaluable support and guidance over recent years. Under his stewardship the business is now poised to move into the next phase of growth, and together with our strong team and high-performance culture, I am confident we will continue to realise the group’s ambitious targets. Our medium to long term strategy affords the group exciting expansion opportunities and I look forward to leading the team to capitalise on the potential which exists in our business and the market.”

According to a statement by Italtile, Lance’s appointment formalises the group’s succession plan which has been developed over the past five years. “He has worked closely with Jan over the past four years since Italtile acquired Ceramic in 2017, and the handover period will ensure a seamless transition to a new era for the business.”

Ceramic Industries COO Tshepo Molefakgotla will be taking over from Lance when he assumes the role of CEO-designate at Italtile. Tshepo joined Ceramic in 2004 and was appointed COO in 2016.

Italtile chairman Gianni Ravazzotti said:

“It has been a privilege to work with Jan, and naturally we are sorry to be announcing his departure. His decision to retire after decades in the extremely demanding retail sector is understandable and we wish him well.”

Gianni added that Jan’s numerous achievements during his eight-year tenure have established a solid foundation for the business to build on under Lance’s leadership. “He has inculcated a retail excellence culture which has underpinned consistent and impressive turnover and profit growth, doubled the store network, and ensured our brands are market leaders in their segments. A key accomplishment is the depth of talent which now exists in the organisation and augurs well for the group’s continued growth into the new era with Lance at the helm.”