Krishna Nikhil has stepped down as CEO of Pangaia to return to his home town of Toronto for family reasons, the company said Friday.
The former consultant and Ssense CMO joined the business just over 18 months ago, with a mandate to deliver on ambitions to establish the pandemic-era success story as a materials science powerhouse. He remains an advisor to the company, while CFO and co-founder Nathalie Longuet has stepped into the chief executive role, Pangaia said.
The change comes at an uncertain time for the eco-innovation business. The company emerged as one of fashion’s hottest start-ups in 2020, selling brightly coloured tracksuits that were a perfect fit for the lockdown moment. But it has struggled to sustain that commercial momentum or prove out its broader strategic vision of leveraging its products to develop a more disruptive and lucrative business selling climate-friendly material innovations to the rest of the industry.
The company’s challenges were already evident when Nikhil joined as its first ever CEO in March of 2022. After recording an operating profit of $16.6 million in 2020 (its first year in operation), the company swung to a loss of $41.5 million in 2021, according to public accounts filed this February.
Efforts to optimise the company’s digital platform and expand its footprint in stores like Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette and La Rinascente helped put the direct-to-consumer brand back on track for profitability this year, the company told BoF in March. It also put in place plans to heavily cut back staff and move its headquarters from London to Switzerland this Spring, according to an internal memo seen by BoF in April.
The company said it is progressing well towards its financial targets for the year and that it continues to work with Nikhil on various initiatives.
After swinging to an operating loss of $41 million in 2021, the buzzy fashion start-up has stabilised and remains focused on its ambition to build a materials science business.