Sportswear retailer Footasylum has named David Pujolar as its new chief executive as boss Barry Bown steps down from his role as executive chair and chief executive.

David Pujolar, incoming CEO of Footasylum

David Pujolar has been appointed chief executive of Footasylum

Pujolar began his new role as chief executive on March 1, 2024. Footasylum said the change to its leadership comes at the end of an “exceptionally strong” full-year performance for the business.

Most recently, Pujolar was general manager at European sportswear retailer AW Lab where he led the brand’s global expansion across retail, ecommerce and franchising.

During his time at AW Lab, Pujolar also developed and implemented an omnichannel web platform for the retailer as well as introducing its loyalty club membership scheme.

He has also held senior roles at retailers including Adidas, Foot Locker and Tommy Hilfiger.

Bown, who was Footasylum chief executive since 2018 and before that chief executive at JD Sports, now joins Footasylum owner Aurelius in a consultancy role.

Footasylum said Bown has “successfully steered the company through a hugely eventful few years” during his time at the helm and restored it to “stability and profitability against a challenging backdrop”.

The sportswear brand added that Bown will continue to support its growth in his new position at the parent company, as well as working with other companies within the Aurelius portfolio.

Pujolar said of his appointment: “Footasylum is a business that I’ve admired for many years. It has a distinctive proposition, a loyal customer base and an exciting portfolio of innovative and trendsetting brands.

“Barry, Aurelius and the wider team have done an excellent job in building Footasylum into a leading streetwear retailer and disruptive entertainment company, and I am looking forward to continuing their good work.”

Bown said: “Footasylum is an incredible business and I’ve been privileged to lead it for nearly six years. It has been rewarding and challenging in equal measure and, under Aurelius’ ownership, we now have exceptionally strong foundations and a clear strategy for future growth.

“Today Footasylum is profitable, expanding rapidly and has a prominent presence on high streets and in iconic retail destinations across the UK. Against that backdrop, the time is right for me to step aside from the day-to-day running of the business, almost 40 years after I first started in this industry.

“I am delighted that someone of David’s calibre will take up the role of CEO and am confident that he is the right person to take charge of Footasylum’s exciting next chapter.

“I also have no doubt that the incredible leadership team I leave behind will support him in taking the business to new heights. I am looking forward to providing support to the business through my new consultancy role with Aurelius.”

Aurelius managing director Tobias Klaiber said: “We are thrilled to witness Footasylum continuing its growth journey and solidifying its unique position as a disruptive entertainer, brand incubator, and youth influencer. The record financial results validate our strategic direction, demonstrating the success of our operational transformation and growth initiatives.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Barry for his strong commitment over the years and are pleased to have him as a consultant to the team. With David, we are confident that we have an exceptional successor who will help realise the ambitious goals we have set for this business moving forward.”

Aurelius acquired Footasylum in August 2022 from sports giant JD Sports.

Aurelius recently hit the headlines when it acquired The Body Shop from Natura&Co in a deal valuing the health and beauty retailer at £207m at the end of last year. The Body Shop has since fallen into administration.