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AllSaints hunts for new chief following Craig’s shock exit

The majority shareholder in AllSaints is looking for someone who is “good at working with creativity and design” to fill the chief executive role left vacant following the unexpected resignation of Stephen Craig this week.

Craig departed after a fall-out with founder and chairman Kevin Stanford. The departure comes just five months after the fashion chain was saved from administration with a £105m investment from Lion Capital and Goode Partners.

Lyndon Lea, partner at private equity firm Lion Capital, AllSaints’ majority shareholder, said he was looking for someone with strong organisational skills and who was comfortable and good at working with creativity and design as “AllSaints is a design-led business”. Lea said the new chief executive would come from outside the business. Chief financial officer Peter Wood will take over the role on an interim basis.

Lea said Craig would continue to work alongside the private equity house as a special adviser. “Stephen has been instrumental in building AllSaints from a small base. That knowledge would be lost and would be quite challenging [to lose].”

Brand experts have warned AllSaints needs to recruit someone who can continually “evolve” the retailer.

Maureen Hinton, retail analyst at research firm Verdict Research, said: “It can be quite difficult for new brands when they grow very fast and take off to move to the next stage. They need someone with a very strong business head.”

Manfred Abraham, head of consultancy at Interbrand, said a chief executive was needed who “really gets the brand” and can keep evolving it in a similar style to Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, who replaced the designer after he died.

Click here for the latest on the changes at AllSaints.

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