Accession Announcement. Andy Hill appointed CEO of The King of Shaves Company, Will King becomes Founder, looks to “Next..?’
25 Oct 2014
Dear King of Shaves Fans and Friends,
Twenty-one years ago I launched a new brand in one of the most competitive retail environments on earth – the cut throat world of shaving.
From persuading Harrods to stock our first shaving oil back in 1993, to the launch of the game-changing Hyperglide razor in 2014, King of Shaves has flown the flag for British manufacturing excellence, innovation and enterprise across the world, shaving a good few billion faces along the way!
Our products, and company, have won numerous awards; our sales in the UK make us a top three selling brand, and the King of Shaves logo can be seen in shops from America to Australia, and Turkey to Japan. This is some achievement in what is a highly aggressive £17bn global marketplace where giants like P&G’s Gillette and Energizer Holdings’ Schick Wilkinson Sword still hold 90% of the share.
We’ve also constantly challenged traditional ideas and broken the mould. From embracing the internet in 1995 with the purchase of shave.com for US$35 to debuting our pioneering 2009 ‘Shaving Bond’ (which paved the way for what is now a multi-billion pound retail ‘mini-bond’ marketplace) let alone spawning countless imitations along the way to launching our online shaving ‘subscription’ service in 2012, we’ve changed forever how customers shave and save, smarter and better.
I’m proud that we’ve also helped Shelley Rudman to Winter Olympics medal success, and fostered a new generation of sporting talent with our Young Blades scheme, one of whom was another Olympic medal winner, Lowestoft born boxer, Anthony Ogogo.
And then there are our razors. Our innovative Azor, launched in 2008, was the first British made razor for one hundred years. Building on this we wanted to revolutionise the shaving market with something completely new, and in January this year the Hyperglide was born which uses patented ‘superhydrophilic’ technology (rather than 1970s Lubrastrips). It took our talented design and engineering team 5 years to bring this product to market, and it has proved a great hit as it allows, for the first time ever, to be able to shave without the need for shaving gels or oils, by ‘just adding water’.
Building the King of Shaves brand has been my life for the past 21 years. I’ll be 50 next year and I have many ambitions and aspirations, and I will tell you about these at another time… So with my Board’s agreement, and with immediate effect, I am standing down as CEO, remaining Founder, Board Director and the largest shareholder.
I am delighted to announce that one of my most trusted lieutenants, Andy Hill – who’s been with me since 1995 – has been appointed CEO and to our Holding Company Board. I can think of no one better to take King of Shaves business and brand forward – continuing with the mission of “shaving people smarter”. Like me, Andy studied Mechanical Engineering, and led the Hyperglide development team. Between 2004-9 he was Managing Director of KMI, the company I founded in 1993 and is exceptionally well placed to build on the brands’ 21 year old foundations and reputation.
William Blair & Company, the global investment banking and asset management firm, continues to evaluate investment and growth options for King of Shaves following inbound interest earlier in the year. These are exciting times..!
I will of course continue to fly the flag for King of Shaves, working with the KoS team on their plans for the future while keeping our larger competitors on their toes. In the last few weeks, I’ve been asked at business talks I’ve given, what would happen if Will King “left” King of Shaves. At both, I’ve given the same answer – “it’ll go from strength to strength!” Since day one, I’ve built a great team around me who run the business day to day, and have done for many years. And secondly, if you have a great team, the ‘Leader’ should know when it’s the right time to hand over the ‘reigns’ (sorry!).
Thank you all for your support over the past two decades. My team and I couldn’t have done it without you all, customers, investors, shaving bond holders, suppliers and – of course – beards!