Kate Bostock is expected to take several months out before returning to the fashion industry, after resigning as Asos executive director of product and trading this week.
Bostock joined Asos in January from Marks & Spencer, where she was executive director for general merchandise, but has stepped down after concluding that “Asos wasn’t the right place for me” – an opinion shared by many in the industry when the appointment was announced last year.
“The online platform and younger customer were probably too much for Kate; she’s good at value retailing and bricks-and-mortar,” said one headhunter. “But we need to give her a break. She needs to take a lot of time off – several months – do something she is good at and do it quietly.”
Another headhunter added that Bostock could return to run a smaller fashion company but would need the strong support of a chairman. “What brand is big enough for Kate to run just the product side? She has to go for a smaller brand, with support from a good financial director and chairman. She’s a first-class retailer.”
Industry insiders have suggested Bostock could “do a Jane Shepherdson”, who left Topshop in 2008 to buy Whistles. “But Jane left with her stock very high,” said one recruitment consultant. “Kate was publicly under a lot of pressure at M&S and needs to build up her stock again. She won’t walk into something new straight away – she should take time off – but she’s one of those people who will always get a job.”