Young fashion industry figures have said Ben Sherman’s next chief executive should be more consumer-focused, after Drapers this week broke news of Pan Philippou’s departure.
Philippou left the men’s young fashion brand this week after almost three years at the helm. While a replacement has yet to be announced, Tom Chubb, president of parent company Oxford Industries, will step in until a new chief executive is found.
A young fashion brand manager said Philippou’s successor must have strong consumer awareness. “You have to look inward and give the consumer what they want,” he said.
One young fashion industry insider added: “I think they need somebody who is much more consumer-focused. Pan is a good salesman, but they need someone who has clear understanding of the brand from a consumer perspective, especially in this market.”
During his time at Ben Sherman, Philippou led a reinvention of the brand, but one industry insider said: “My guess is [Ben Sherman] has tried to move too quickly to reposition in the UK and they haven’t taken the consumer with them, especially in the current climate, when consumers are looking for cheaper product and they were going in the opposite direction.”
One former employee said there may be difficulties in realigning Ben Sherman’s brand image. “The brand for me is a £40 checked shirt range, and so it’s difficult to move away from that.”
Philippou’s exit comes after UK sales director Laurence Morse departed in September. International licensing manager Mike Smith is also understood to have left recently, but Ben Sherman declined to comment. Philippou could not be reached for comment.