Billabong's EU head to exit

GM of Billabong Europe Franco Fogliato has been poached by Columbia Sportswear.

Embattled surfwear retailer and manufacturer Billabong International (BBG) has lost the head of its European business to US action sports brand Columbia Sportswear, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, general manager of Billabong Europe Franco Fogliato has been poached by Columbia to be the group's senior vice-president of its European business.

Mr Fogliato will commence his new role on November 4, with a Billabong spokesman saying he will be replaced temporarily by European retail director Jean-Louis Rodrigues, while chief executive officer Neil Fiske reviews the leadership structure of the group.

"Europe has and continues to be a very important market for Billabong," the spokesman said, according to The Australian.

"The well-documented economic problems the continent has been facing, including high youth unemployment, has, however, impacted significantly on our business in the last year in particular."