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More directors leave New Look as Kristiansen simplifies structure

New Look has parted company with two directors in short succession, as the retailer continues to restructure its UK team.

Mark Axon, sales director for UK and the Republic of Ireland, and group HR director Julie Blomley have both exited in the past few weeks, Drapers understands.

The departures come after Danny Barrasso, chief executive Anders Kristiansen’s executive assistant, was made UK managing director in June. Barrasso is thought to have taken on Axon’s responsibilities.

Axon had been at the business for two years while Blomley had been there since late 2011. Blomley’s responsibilities are being taken on by interim chief financial officer Richard Collyer, who will himself pass the reins to Mike Iddon when he joins later this year from Tesco, where he is group finance director.

Neither Axon nor Blomley are understood to have secured a new role.

There have been several high-profile departures from New Look since Kristiansen took over last January. Drapers believes he is keen to replicate the reporting structure that already exists in New Look’s China and Poland operations, with one country managing director who reports directly to Kristiansen, rather than several directors.

In February, buying and merchandising director Philip Walker left after less than a year in the role, after a number of the buying team had jumped ship to Blue Inc in the preceding months.

That same month group IT director Dan West departed after a year, but the retailer also hired former Deloitte director Jack Smith as group digital director.

In December, ecommerce and multichannel director Shivani Tejuja was made redundant, with her division reporting directly into Axon, who was retail operations director at the time.

Non-executive chairman Alistair McGeorge announced he was leaving in March after three years to “pursue other opportunities”, with founder and executive director Tom Singh stepping into the position on an interim basis. McGeorge had already stepped back from the executive chairman role the previous October.

This followed sweeping changes to management in June 2013, when Guy Lister, customer and multichannel managing director, was made redundant.

Head of commercial development James Brien, head of merchandising for denim, knitwear, formalwear and casual jersey Fiona Forrest, HR director David Bannister and head of HR Anna Lloyd left at the same time.

New Look confirmed Axon and Blomley had left the business but declined to comment further.

For the year to March 29, underlying operating profits at New Look were up 11.3% to £128.5m, while group sales climbed 3% to £1.53bn. UK like-for-likes rose 3%, compared with a 0.5% decline in 2013, despite a quarter of its stores being affected by the flooding in February.





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