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Exclusive: Maria Hollins exits HoF as David Walker-Smith joins

House of Fraser’s executive director for buying and design, Maria Hollins, has left the business, and is set to be replaced by former Fenwick director David Walker-Smith.

Walker-Smith will take up the new role of chief product and trading officer. He resigned from his role as managing director of Fenwick of Bond Street in March 2016. He will join HoF on 12 March.  

Hollins joined HoF in May 2016 from Asos. She started working at Asos in November 2011 as trading director, before being promoted to retail director in September 2013. It is not yet known what her next role will be.

Alex Williamson, chief executive, said: ”David has had a stellar retail, buying and merchandising career to date. Our ability to attract an individual of David‘s calibre is a real testament to our ambitions for growth in the UK. David’s appointment adds additional strength to our leadership team and he will play an instrumental role in delivering key elements of the Transformation Programme.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Maria for her hard work over the past two years. I look forward to working with David in the next chapter for the Group.”

Walker-Smith added: ”This role is an opportunity to enhance the overall experience of House of Fraser by collaborating and innovating with product and brands to build unique customer propositions. Alex has huge ambitions for House of Fraser and I’m looking forward to delivering the transformation with him and the team.”

The move is the latest in a series of changes under Williamson.

Maria Hollins

Maria Hollins

As exclusively revealed by Drapers, Reiss’s chief digital officer Simon Pickering joined HoF as buying and merchandising director for clothing and accessories earlier this month.

The department store chain has also promoted Gary Slattery, retail director since 2016, to the newly created role of executive director for retail. Meanwhile Gary Monk, transformation director since 2017, has become executive director for operations.

Peter Gross, chief operating officer since 2008, and Julian Burnett, chief information officer since 2015, have left the business.

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