The employment merry-go-round continued to spin this year, as some of fashion retail’s biggest names headed for pastures new. Drapers looks back at the year’s most notable job changes.
LK Bennett CEO Darren Topp left the business in April and was replaced by Erica Vilkauls, who formerly headed womenswear chain East. Topp joined LK Bennett in September 2016 after heading Arcadia Group’s BHS, which collapsed in April that year. Vilkauls, former chief operating officer at Thomas Pink, was appointed interim chief executive of East in November 2016. East went into administration for the second time in less than three years in January. The role marks a return to LK Bennett for Vilkauls, who had worked there for three years until 2009 as its buying, merchandising and ecommerce director.
In May, it was announced that Cath Kidston CEO Kenny Wilson was leaving the business to join footwear brand Dr Martens in the same role. Wilson had held the top job at Cath Kidston since 2011, having previously also worked at Claire’s and Levi’s. Dr Martens was left without a CEO when Steve Murray left last year, and chairman Paul Mason took charge on an interim basis.
Mark Newton-Jones was reappointed as CEO of Mothercare in May, five weeks after being ousted from the role. Mothercare rehired Newton-Jones after announcing plans to enter into a company voluntary arrangement to restructure the business following a dire run of trading figures. Newton-Jones agreed to a 20% pay cut to rejoin the retailer.
Clarks chief executive Mike Shearwood resigned in June following an investigation “into complaints of conduct contrary to the family-owned company’s code of business ethics”. Shearwood, who was previously CEO of Karen Millen from 2009 to 2015, joined Clarks in September 2016. Stella David, the company’s senior independent director, has been appointed interim CEO of the footwear retailer.
Former Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis joined Anthropologie in the newly created role of managing director of international in July. His remit includes all territories outside of the US, Canada and China. Anthropologie has 11 stores in the UK and more than 240 in the US, where its head office is based.
Later that month, Jigsaw revealed that it had appointed Chris Stephenson, former CEO of rugby-inspired brand Canterbury, to replace Peter Ruis. Stephenson was most recently global president of the activewear division at Canterbury parent company Pentland Brands but left earlier this year, when the company restructured its executive team. He held the role at Pentland from January 2017 and was previously chief executive at Canterbury from 2008 to December 2016. Stephenson had been acting as a non-executive director of Jigsaw for several months.
Angela Spindler stepped down as CEO of N Brown Group in September. Spindler had been CEO of the group since July 2013, and has more than 20 years of retail experience, including senior roles at Coca-Cola, Mars, Asda, Debenhams and The Original Factory Shop. Steve Johnson, chief executive of the financial services division, has stepped into the role of interim group chief executive while N Brown, which owns JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, searches for a new CEO.
Also in September, it was revealed that Anthony Thompson will step down as CEO of Fat Face in January 2019 after 10 years with the business. Before that he was managing director at George at Asda from 2007 to 2010, and held several senior roles at Marks & Spencer. He said he was leaving the business “in a great place” and would be taking time out to spend with his family. It was later announced that he will be replaced by Liz Evans, CEO of Oasis and Warehouse.
Oasis and Warehouse subsequently announced the promotion of chief operating officer Hash Ladha to CEO. Ladha was appointed CEO designate with immediate effect, and will become CEO when Evans departs next year to join Fat Face.
Boohoo Group appointed Primark chief operating officer John Lyttle as its chief executive as part of a top-level reshuffle. Lyttle will join the Manchester-based retailer, which also owns PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal, in March next year. Incumbent joint CEO Mahmud Kamani will become group chief executive chairman, while fellow joint CEO Carol Kane will remain on the Boohoo board and take the title of executive director. Kamani will focus on the business’s long-term strategic direction and Kane will lead the group’s multi-brand strategy.
William Kim, CEO of AllSaints
Topping off the post-summer people moves, AllSaints CEO William Kim moved to private equity firm Lion Capital, which owns a majority stake in the retailer, to look after its digital investments. He was replaced by chief operating officer Peter Wood, who joined AllSaints in 2010 as chief finance officer and became chief operating officer in September 2016.
Brian McCluskey retired from his role as CEO of footwear retailer Office in November, after 15 years. His retirement marked the end of his three-year contract with Office owner Truworths International. Lorenzo Moretti, vice-president of global retail at consumer electronics company Sonos, joined Office as designate chief executive in October. Before working at Sonos, Moretti held vice-president and general manager roles at Nike Europe for five years, as well as senior roles at Gap, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.
Finally, earlier this month, Drapers exclusively revealed that Hobbs chief executive Meg Lustman is stepping down from her role in January to explore non-executive positions in the retail sector. Following Lustman’s departure, Justin Hampshire will join Hobbs in January as managing director from sister brand Whistles, where he has held the same role since September 2016. Whistles brand director Helen Williamson will move into the role of managing director. House of Fraser buying and merchandising director for fashion and accessories Simon Pickering is joining Phase Eight as managing director.