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Top 10 people moves of 2015

Want to know which hires, fires, resignations and management restructures got you talking in 2015? With the year drawing to a close, we take a look back at our top 10 most read people moves stories from the past year.

1. BHS head of buying exits for M&Co

In Drapers’ most read people moves story of the year, we reported on March 11 that BHS’ head of buying Melanie Buckingham had left the troubled department store retailer to take up a role as head of buying at value chain M&Co, having previously joined BHS in 2011. 

2. Clarks CEO Melissa Potter and CFO Robin Beacham exit

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Clarks chief executive Melissa Potter left the footwear retailer in June

The departures of Clarks chief executive Melissa Potter and chief financial officer Robin Beacham came as a surprise to many, having been at the business for 27 and nine years respectively. However, in its most recent results sales at the footwear retailer fell 3.2% to £1.49bn in the year ending January 2015, which was blamed on discounting and problems with its US business. Ultimately, insiders said it spelt the end for this duo.

3. Jack Wills suffers a staff exodus due to alleged lack of direction

In May Drapers reported that around 15 directors, heads of department and managers were understood to have left Jack Wills over the course of the previous six to eight months, amid concerns about the direction of the preppy young fashion retailer. However Jack Wills countered this and said an internal survey showed 95% of staff undestood its direction. 

This was followed the next week by a series of hires including Richard Fawdry as merchansiding director and Jess Jeal as head of products.

4. Topshop raids Asos for new design chief

In February news broke that Jacqui Markham had left and rejoined Topshop in the newly created role of global design director, replacing Emma Farrow. Markham worked at Topshop for 14 years from November 1997, latterly as design director, before she joined Asos as womenswear design director in March 2013.

5. Jack Wills founder resumes role as chief executive

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Jack Wills founder and majority shareholder Peter Williams returned as chief executive in August

Jack Wills’ second entry into Drapers’ top 10 comes off the back of our August 27 revelation that founder and majority shareholder Peter Williams was returning as chief executive, replacing Wendy Becker. Becker had joined the retailer as chief operating officer in 2012 and became chief executive in 2013 to lead the business to an IPO. However, the group’s board and shareholders have since decided not to float “for the time being” following a review and Becker stood down with immediate effect.

6. BHS appoints Darren Topp as interim chief executive

BHS named Darren Topp as its interim chief executive with immediate effect on March 17, replacing Richard Price who moved to Tesco clothing brand F&F as chief executive. Topp has worked at BHS for six years, most recently as chief operating officer.

This followed Sir Philip Green’s transfer of control of the struggling business to Retail Aquisitions on March 12.

7. Jacques Vert Group restructures management team

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Jacques Vert Group saw numerous people moves this year, including chief executive Teresa Tideman’s exit

At the beginning of March, Drapers reported womenswear business Jacques Vert Group had reviewed its management team, resulting in the departure of two directors.

These included merchandising director Mike Halliday, who left around the beginning of April after 26 years, while group trading director Sarah Morris departed after two years at the end of February. This was followed by the news in April that Teresa Tideman, who led the turnaround at Jacques Vert Group for the past two years, had stepped down as chief executive. She was replaced by former Debenhams and Baugur executive Tim Davies, who joined JVG in February as interim transformation director.

8. New boss at Monsoon Accessorize as Browett exits

In February Drapers reported Monsoon Accessorize had promoted finance director Paul Allen to interim chief executive with immediate effect, with John Browett stepping down. Allen joined the company in early 2013 and was previously chief executive of womenswear retailer Jacques Vert.

Former Dixons and Apple retail boss Browett was appointed chief executive of the womenswear and accessories retailer in February 2013 and left to pursue other opportunities.

9. Ben Sherman hires to restructure

In August it was announced that Ben Sherman’s new owners had hired industry veteran Simon Smith as chief restructuring officer to review the business and recommend changes and future strategy. For the past three years Smith, whose career has included stints at Levi Strauss and World Design & Trade (Firetrap and Full Circle’s original owner), worked as a restructuring specialist through his own company, Discern Consulting & Trade.

Just a week later this was followed by the news chief executive and creative director Mark Maidment would leave the business after 13 years, following its sale to US firm Marquee Brands in July.

10. N Brown to make voluntary redundancies at JD Williams

It has been a difficult year for N Brown Group, the owner of JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, as it transitions into a truly multichannel business. Doing so has meant redundancies along the way, and in July Drapers reported it had opened a voluntary redundancy programme for staff at its plus-size womenswear business JD Williams. In total there were 380 redundancies this year.

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