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Review of the year 2014: Top 20 people moves

This year has seen a raft of high-profile changes at the top of the UK’s largest fashion retailers, from the much revered Next product boss Christos Angelides departing after 28 years to join US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch as president, to the appointment of Stacey Cartwright as Harvey Nichols chief executive bringing an end to Joseph Wan’s long search for a successor.

Here we take a look back at the 20 most important management changes in UK fashion retail over the past 12 months.

January - Harvey Nichols ended months of speculation when it named former Burberry chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright as its new chief executive, replacing Joseph Wan. Cartwright ushered in a series of changes this year, appointing All Saints global director of product merchandising Anita Barr as fashion buying director in March; Emma Byrne as group communications director in April; Shadi Halliwell as group marketing and creative director in June; former Anthropologie head of buying Olivia Richardson as group head of womenswear in September; and former Chloé fashion editor Jodie Ball as head of editorial in October.

January - Management changes continued at Marks & Spencer this year. This began when it poached two long-serving members of staff from rival Next. Buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter, who has been at Next for nearly 10 years, was brought on as head of buying for womenswear, while Laura Charles, whose tenure at Next lasted more than 15 years, joined as head of buying for lingerie. In the same month M&S also raided Zara owner Inditex to hire human resources director for Asia Maria Rodal as its China country manager.

In May, it was revealed that Marks & Spencer’s international director Jan Heere would step down, with this then followed by a management overhaul in June. This included extending multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery’s remit to cover UK retail; marketing director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne took on responsibility for international; international business development director Costas Antimissaris was promoted to international director; while chief finance offer Alan Stewart took on responsibility for property.

February – House of Fraser executive director of womenswear Allan Winstanley left his role after nine years to join high end Dutch department store de Bijenkorf. The news came just a day after it was announced chairman Don McCarthy would step down following the sale of the business to Chinese owners Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store, a deal which was completed in September.

February – Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu announced plans to step down from the retailer after five years in the role. The move came just a month after Hobbs’ owner 3i wrote down the value of its investment in the womenswear retailer by 40% after poor trading in the last quarter of 2013.

February – A shake-up at LK Bennett saw chief executive Didier Drouet depart after just a year and a half in the role, to be replaced by chairman Robert Bensoussan.

February – The third high profile chief executive to step down within the month, Simon Calver left Mothercare after less than two years in the role. He was replaced by former Shop Direct group chief executive Mark Newton Jones in March.

March - New Look’s non-executive chairman Alistair McGeorge announced plans to leave after three years at the retailer in May. Founder and executive director Tom Singh filled the role until former Asda and Matalan boss Paul Mason was then appointed in September.

March – Troubled etailer My-Wardrobe.com lost fashion director Carmen Borgonovo in March, followed closely by co-founder Andrew Curran on April 1. Curran had just returned four months earlier to run the business.

March - Mulberry chief executive Bruno Guillon left his role at the British luxury brand after two years. His departure came just two months after Mulberry issued a profit warning following a fall in UK retail revenues over the Christmas period.

April - John Lewis head of buying for womenswear Jo Hooper departed the business after six years. In November, she resurfaced at LK Bennett in the newly created role of group product director.

April - Sainsbury’s Tu director James Brown was promoted to take on the full non-food remit as part of a wider shake-up of the management board ahead of chief executive Justin King’s departure in July.

May – Having taken the reigns at Jigsaw the previous year, group chief executive Peter Ruis made a series of key appointments in 2014. Former Jaeger brand director Shailina Parti was brought on board as its first buying and merchandising director; in the same month Asos’ head of buying Claire Miles joined as head of its London luxury boutique The Shop at Bluebird to develop its multichannel proposition; and in November Marks & Spencer’s James Williams was appointed to the newly-created role of Jigsaw’s head of online trading, effective from January. 

However in December product director Barbara Horspool left to join The White Company as clothing director.

May - The end of the month saw a surprise resignation from JD Sports fashion chief Barry Bown, bringing an end to his 30 year career at the company.

June - Drapers reported that Meg Lustman would not renew her contract as fashion buying director at John Lewis, with the department store promoting technology director Ed Connolly into the position. In July Lustman took over as chief executive at Hobbs.

June - In possibly the biggest move of the year, it was announced that Next product boss Christos Angelides would leave his role after 28 years to join US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch as president. This followed the news in May that Next’s group finance director David Keens announced plans to retire next spring after 28 years at the retailer.

Drapers understands Angelides is in the running for the top job at Abercrombie & Fitch, after chief executive Mike Jeffries stepped down on in December with immediate effect.

July - A fresh profit warning was followed by the news that Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke would exit the business to be replaced by Dave Lewis, head of Unilever’s personal care division. In September it was announced that former M&S chief finance officer Alan Stewart would be parachuted in two months earlier amid the troubles. The departures have continued, however, and in October Tesco chairman Sir Richard Broadbent announced he would step down, after the supermarket chain revealed the hole in its forecasts was bigger than previously forecast.

Tesco’s clothing arm F&F has continued to be successful, however, and in December clothing boss Jason Tarry was named group head of commercial as part of a senior management restructure.

July - Emma Alexander had a busy year. In July she jumped ship from USC as brand director, only to resurface in September at Next in the newly created role of head of brands, as the high street chain looks to ramp up its third-party offer. However in November, Jack Wills came calling and Alexander moved once again, this time to take up the newly created role of chief product officer, where she will work alongside creative director Richard Nicoll, himself appointed in February.

July - Net-a-Porter chief executive Mark Sebba left after 11 years in the role.

October - News broke that Gap Inc’s chief executive Glenn Murphy would retire from the company early next year, following several successful years in the role. Art Peck, president of Gap Inc’s growth, innovation and digital division, has been selected by the board to succeed Murphy, effective from February 1, 2015.

October - Aquascutum appointed Andrew Chan to the newly-created role of chief executive, effective immediately. Chan is already an executive director of YGM Trading, the Hong Kong fashion retailer which bought Aquascutum out of administration for £15m in 2012.

To read about the top people moves in 2013, click here.

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