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Will Kernan

Managing director, New Look

New Look’s Will Kernan, who was promoted to managing director in May this year, is seen as one of the industry’s most likely future chief executives.

“He gets the brand, he’s got the pace and he is very adaptable. He is still relatively young at 40 and has worked in many parts of the business,” says one recruitment professional who adds that Kernan’s rounded CV is one of his best assets.

In 10 and a half years at New Look, Kernan has developed from a finance role via distribution, retail operations and trading to his current position. He praises New Look’s strong support in moving him around the business, particularly when he jumped from finance director to trading director four years ago. “Each time you move it’s a gamble by the company and they need to take that and back you. I have been lucky that New Look have,” says Kernan

Kernan secured a degree in economics at Exeter University, but quickly achieved his teenage dream of a job in fashion retail as a stock controller at Burton Group.  He went on to work with Debenhams and Principles before becoming involved in Sears’ sell-off of British Shoe Corporation. Before joining New Look, Kernan also worked as a consultant with womenswear business Jaeger and supermarket Tesco.

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