A change of guard at the helm of New Look was “inevitable” following a series of “disappointing” results at the business, industry insiders have said.
New Look has confirmed that Anders Kristiansen has left the business after five years as chief executive. Drapers understands Kristiansen does not yet have a new job lined up.
Anders kristiansen new look
He will be replaced temporarily by New Look’s UK and Ireland country manager Danny Barrasso, while the business hunts for a permanent successor.
Industry sources said its private equity owner Brait, which acquired a 90% stake in the business in 2015, had no choice but to make the change, after the retailer reported disappointing trading results for the first quarter of its current financial year.
It followed a steep fall in underlying operating profits and a dip in revenue for the 52 weeks to 25 March 2017.
“The investors decided enough was enough,” one source said. “Something had to happen.”
Another source said: “It was inevitable. The CEO is there to drive the business and to benefit from bonuses when things are going well, but when things are going badly, they have to take the hit.”
She added: “It will be interesting to see who they get in to replace him. They need a visionary – someone who will rejuvenate the team, not one of the usual suspects. Perhaps they will look towards Europe.”
One headhunter agreed that his departure came as no surprise, adding: “He was a victim of his own success and some later poor strategy and execution of the same. New Look has 600-plus UK stores so growth from new shops limited. It’s not like H&M, which continues to expand and take market share. The product also needs a lot of improvement.”
Another recruitment source added: “He was under immense pressure. There could be a number of people in the frame but it depends on what they want. Are they looking for a product person or do they want a proven CEO? On top of all that, it’s all in the hands of Brait, who can be notoriously tough.”
Kristiansen and Barrasso outlined a new strategy for New Look in an interview with Drapers last month. They said they would focus on delivering trends faster, reducing the retailer’s reliance on discounting and catering to a younger customer.
Kristiansen admitted that 2016 had been difficult and the team “could have done a better job” but stressed New Look was looking closely at its product and continuing to invest in making improvements.