Harrods is reviewing its options following the news that the ‘irreplaceable’ Marigay McKee will leave her position as chief merchant to become president of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, as revealed by Drapers on Monday.
McKee, who has been at Harrods for 15 years and has been chief merchant since 2011, is credited with driving the repositioning of the Knightsbridge store as one of the world’s prime luxury destinations.
It is thought her decision to leave came as a surprise to Harrods, which has been owned by Qatar Holdings since May 2010.
One leading London headhunter told Drapers on Wednesday: “In many ways, Marigay is irreplaceable. She has surrounded herself with a lot of good people at Harrods, but there is no obvious successor to her at the store. I am sure Harrods would like to promote from within, but they will probably cast the net outside the UK.”
A Harrods spokeswoman said: “Following the announcement of Marigay McKee’s departure from Harrods as chief merchant, the business has made no decision with regards to a replacement for her role. Marigay leaves behind an exceptionally talented and experienced senior team, which has been instrumental in driving the success of our key retail divisions for many years.”
McKee has been hired by Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company, which bought Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company Saks Incorporate in a deal worth $2.9bn (£1.8bn) in July. The deal is set to be completed before the end of the year.
McKee’s leaving date has not been confirmed, but sources suggest she might take up her new role by early November.
She replaces Ron Frasch, who has run the iconic but loss-making New York department store for 15 years.
McKee joined Harrods as a beauty buyer in 1999 and was appointed general merchandising manager of beauty in 2000. She was given responsibility for all beauty and fashion merchandising in 2007