Harrods’ decision to split the role of former chief merchant Marigay McKee in two has been praised by luxury sources – although some concerns have been raised over whether Helen David and Jason Broderick can maintain McKee’s high profile.
Last week Drapers revealed the luxury department store was carving the role vacated by McKee on Friday into two fashion director positions.
David will be fashion director of womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and kidswear while Broderick will hold the same role for menswear, sports and watches.
Both were previously general merchandise managers. David has been at Harrods for six years and Broderick for 15.
They will report into managing director Michael Ward and join the senior merchant team, which also includes director of food and beverages Bruce Langlands and Annalise Quest, director of home, sound and vision.
Ward said: “Both are excellent merchants with an exceptional eye for luxury, playing an integral part in developing the world-class offer that Harrods is known for.”
One luxury industry source told Drapers the pair were respected internally at Harrods and the promotions were generally viewed as a good move for the business. “This provides the opportunity for two people who have done well in the organisation to rise up further and take on more responsibility. It shows Harrods doing what it says it wants to do, which is reward its team,” the source said.
“It’s a great opportunity for [David and Broderick] and mitigates the risk of relying on one person taking on the reins.”
The source noted that McKee had a very high profile and it was difficult for others to “have a similar place in the limelight”, but they could “still be extremely effective in the job”. A second luxury source agreed it would be a challenge for David and Broderick to match McKee’s profile in the industry and raised concerns about dividing the role in two. “You need a unified vision for the whole store,” he said.
The management changes came as Harrods published its results for the year to February 2, which showed turnover had risen by 10%, taking revenues to a record £716.3m.
McKee takes up her new role as president of US department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue in January.