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New Look to reshape for global focus

Young fashion chain New Look is on the hunt for a new chief operating officer from overseas and is understood to be planning a shake-up of its buying, merchandising and design teams to help it realise its global ambitions.

New Look chief executive Carl McPhail told Drapers that he was planning to appoint a chief operating officer with international retail experience to replace Paul Marchant, who left the business earlier this year to join value chain primark“>Primark.

cPhail, who was promoted to chief executive in April following a board restructure, added that the appointment of a new chief operating officer was also an issue of succession planning and that he or she was likely to take over from him as chief executive in the future. “We are looking for someone to fill Paul’s shoes. The new chief operating officer would be a natural successor to me.”

Sources in the market told Drapers that New Look was also planning a wider shake-up of roles at head office to better support its overseas expansion plans, which so far include openings in France, Belgium, the Middle East and Russia.

A source close to the retailer said: “New Look has a big change programme coming through on the back of the board restructuring earlier this year. Part of that is driven by costs but they are also looking to realign the business to a global model. The design team is very UK-centric and the management feel the business is still too slow and cumbersome for its global plans.

“It is looking to provide support for its international strategy and is likely to look at design, buying, merchandise and supply chain functions and how they can better support its growth strategy. There has been an acceleration around that recently. They may want the new chief operating officer to lead that.”

McPhail stressed that there were no planned redundancies at New Look. In response to restructuring speculation at the retailer’s head office in Weymouth in Dorset, he said: “We want to go international and we look at the business on a constant basis. You don’t necessarily manage yourself out of a recession by chopping heads.”

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