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Darren Topp to exit LK Bennett as former East CEO joins

LK Bennett CEO Darren Topp is leaving the business in April and will be replaced by Erica Vilkauls, who formerly headed up womenswear chain East.

Topp joined LK Bennett in September 2016 after heading up Arcadia’s BHS, which collapsed in April that year.

Vilkauls, former chief operating officer at Thomas Pink, was appointed interim chief executive of East in November 2016. East went into administration for the second time in less than three years in January.

The move marks a return to LK Bennett for Vilkauls, who had worked there for three years until 2009 as its buying, merchandising and ecommerce director.

Patrick Woodall, chairman of LK Bennett, said: “Darren has done an outstanding job and has achieved many of the objectives he set when he joined the business in 2016. He has built a firm platform for the business’ future growth and has seen the results of his efforts in an improved profitability in this financial year.

“Having discussed the next stage of the of the company’s journey with Darren earlier this year, we agreed that now would be the right time for Darren to move on to new challenges that he had in mind, with Erica in place as his successor.”

Topp said: “It has been a privilege to lead LK Bennett over this crucial time of transition for the business. I wish Erica and the team all the very best for the future and would like to thank Linda (Bennett, its founder) and Patrick for their support during my time as CEO.”

Vilkauls added: “I am looking forward to continuing the excellent work that Darren and the team have done over the past two years, at this exciting time for the brand.”

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