Wiggle’s yellow jersey is passed to new leader

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PORTSMOUTH’S most famous online retailer has a new man in charge.

Stefan Barden has succeeded Humphrey Cobbold as CEO of Wiggle, the international online sports retailer that specialises in equipment and accessories for triathletes.

Mr Barden, who was most recently chief executive of food distribution company Brakes Bros, is a former CEO of Northern Foods and H.J. Heinz Company in the UK and Ireland.

He started his career at Unilever and was also a consultant at McKinsey.

A triathlon enthusiast and Ironman competitor, Mr Barden took the lead at Wiggle this month after leadership discussions took place between the board and Mr Cobbold over the summer.

Mr Cobbold, who first joined Wiggle in 2009, told The News he has no fixed plan for the future.

Mr Barden has big shoes to fill, as Mr Cobbold steered the company from sales of £33m to more than £140m by the time he left, as well as guiding the firm through a takeover by Bridgepoint in December 2011.

‘I have had the privilege to work with a truly fabulous group of colleagues and business partners over the last four years,’ Mr Cobbold said in a statement.

‘The time is now right for someone else to lead the peloton and take Wiggle forward to future success.’

Wiggle recently reported a 20.8 per cent increase in revenue to £140.8m for the year ending February 3.

Wiggle was founded in 1920 as Butler’s Cycles.

Wiggle chairman, Andy Bond, said: ‘We’re very pleased to welcome a new leader whose experience includes many senior roles in industries with a strong customer service ethic.

‘Stefan’s international experience and leadership of large scale businesses will be especially relevant during this next phase of our geographic expansion, as the business invests in the buildout of its operations 
as well as in its 
infrastructure and customer experience.

‘The board joins me in thanking Humphrey for four years of great leadership and wishes him every success with his future plans.’