This year saw a number of high profile people moves with the likes of Harrods’ chief merchant Marigay McKee leaving to set sail for Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts departing for Apple. Here we take a look back at the 20 most important management changes in UK retail over the past 12 months.
January – The year began with the news that Warehouse managing director Meg Lustman was to step down after nearly four years in the role. John Lewis then snapped her up as fashion buying director, starting in November.
January – Marks & Spencer saw a swathe of departures this year along with some key hires. In January women’s design boss Carole Boyes-Weston left after just five months, then kidswear director Karl Doyle left in March to join Shop Direct for a short-lived stint as group product director. In April director of lingerie and beauty Janie Schaffer departed, followed by head of buying for formal menswear Nick Keyte, who left to join John Lewis. In May, M&S lost two womenswear buyers; head of buying for in-house brands Sara Bradley and head of buying for M&S Woman Mary Wastnage. They were followed by marketing boss Steven Sharp who left after nine years, and director of store environment and product presentation Nayna McIntosh, with the latter replaced by Zara commercial director Florence De Boosere in August. The same month Next product director Jo Jenkins was appointed to replace the departed Schaffer. August saw M&S’s Plan A director Richard Gillies step down, while womenswear director Gillian Ridley Whittle left to join Australian retailer Target in October.
January - Internet and home shopping retailer N Brown appointed Original Factory Shop chief executive Angela Spindler as its new chief executive.
February - Fat Face announced Sir Stuart Rose as its new chairman, taking over from Alan Giles in the summer.
February - White Stuff appointed Superdrug boss Jeremy Seigal as its new chief executive, replacing Sally Bailey.
March – Aurora went through a management restructure, with Coast split out from the wider company. Oasis managing director Liz Evans became chief executive of the Oasis and Warehouse fascias with former Oasis deputy managing director Hash Ladha promoted to chief operating officer in June.
March - Jaeger executive chairman Stewart Binnie left the premium fashion retailer after just nine months at the helm. In June it was announced he would be succeeded by former Esprit chief product officer Colin Henry.
May – Selfridges was rocked by a swathe of departures this year. In May director of menswear Anita Barr and menswear buying manager Adam Kelly departed in May, with Barr later resurfacing at All Saints. This followed the news that buying director of womenswear, accessories and childrenswear Sebastian Manes was taking on additional responsibilities and become buying and merchandising director. Finance director Mark Raban, company secretary Alec Latimer and head of online Zia Zareem-Slade also all stepped down. Zareem-Slade’s departure came after Simon Forster joined as multichannel director from Debenhams towards the end of 2012. Gary Edgley, buying manager for women’s contemporary and casualwear also left to take up a consultancy role. Then in August Selfridges poached Mr Porter’s buying manager Terry Betts as its new director of menswear.
May - Reiss saw more departures from its senior management team with ecommerce director Dan Lumb and brand director Andy Rogers leaving.
July – John Lewis buying and brand director Peter Ruis announced his departure from John Lewis to become chief executive of Jigsaw.
July - Asos executive director of product and trading Kate Bostock resigned from Asos after just seven months in the role, but was named as chief executive of womenswear chain Coast the following month.
July - Matt McCormack, John Lewis’s buying director for fashion, resigned and returned to his native Australia to run denim retailer Just Jeans.
September – Etailer My-Wardrobe’s last remaining founding members, brand director Leanne O’Shea and art director Ruth Cozens, left the business. Then in October the etailer merged its London and Nottingham offices, with all but the buying team relocating from the capital. The following month chief executive David Worby left the business in the wake of a pre-pack administration.
September – In arguably the biggest move of the year it was announced that Harrods’ chief merchant Marigay McKee was to leave to join US retailer Saks Fifth Avenue as president, bringing her 15 year career at the iconic department store to an end. The following month Harrods split McKee’s role in two when it promoted two members of its merchandising team to fill her shoes; Helen David, who was named fashion director of womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and kidswear, and Jason Broderick who took on menswear, sports and watches. In December it was announced Harrods store image director Mark Briggs is set to follow McKee with a move to Saks Fifth Avenue.
October – Paula Reed, formerly style director at Grazia, resigned just one year into her role as fashion boss at department store Harvey Nichols.
October – Marc Jacobs announced his departure from Louis Vuitton after 16 years at the brand, to focus on his own label as it heads towards IPO.
October – It was revealed that Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts and Christopher Bailey would end their unstoppable partnership, with chief executive Ahrendts leaving to join Apple and Bailey taking over the reins.
November - Edinburgh Woollen Mill group commercial director Steve Simpson was promoted to the role of managing director of Peacocks.
December – This month My-Wardrobe.com co-founder Sarah Curran was appointed as a director of multichannel retailer Shop Direct, where she will be charged with wooing luxury brands to build a roster that can compete with the likes of My-Wardrobe and Net-a-Porter.
To read about the top people moves in 2012, click here.