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David Adams joins Debenhams board as Non-Exec Director

Debenhams has appointed David Adams as a Non-Executive Director. The company said, he will join the audit and remuneration committees of the board and become Chairman of the audit committee in January 2018, when Mark Rolfe, the current chairman of the committee, intends to step down from the Debenhams board.

Commenting on the development, Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Debenhams, said in a media release: "We are delighted to welcome David Adams to Debenhams. He has had a long and distinguished career in the retail and consumer goods industries. His knowledge of the consumer and leisure sectors as well as his financial credentials will be a great addition to the board."

Adams has served as finance director and deputy chief executive of House of Fraser plc until 2006, followed by as executive chairman of Jessops plc, becoming non-executive chairman in 2009. In addition, he has held several executive and non-executive roles in 30 years of his career, in retailing, including ten years as a plc finance director. He is currently the senior independent non-executive director at Halfords Group plc and a director of the AIM listed companies: Conviviality Retail plc, Fever Tree Drinks plc, Elegant Hotels Group plc and Thinksmart plc.

Picture:Debenhams website

Macy’s appoints Danielle Kirgan Chief HR Officer

Macy's has appointed Danielle Kirgan as Chief Human Resources Officer, effective October 23, 2017. The company said, Kirgan will be responsible for the full range of human resource functions including strategy, associate relations, organizational development (corporate, field and logistics), talent and performance management, compensation and benefits, and training and development. She will report to Jeff Gennette, Macy's CEO, and will be a member of the company’s corporate strategy committee.

"I am thrilled to welcome Danielle to the Macy's team. She has the strategic and operational human resources capabilities that our business requires and is a strong fit for our company--both where we are today and where we are headed," said Gennette in a media statement.

Macy’s added that Kirgan has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of human resources roles across a diverse range of businesses. She was most recently senior vice president, people, at American Airlines and prior to that, chief human resources officer at Darden Restaurants. At Darden, Kirgan was a member of the executive team responsible for transforming the business and its 150,000 team member workforce, which led to positive sales and earnings growth. Kirgan has also held leadership roles in human resources for ConAgra Foods, W.W. Grainger and TeleTech Holdings.

Picture:Facebook/Macy's

Is Phoebe Philo exiting Céline?

Paris Fashion Week has barely ended but the rumour mill surrounding one of its best-loved designers is gaining headlines across the world.

The rumour this time concerns Céline and its star designer Phoebe Philo, who according to the Business of Fashion is making plans for a successor should the English creative call it a day.

“The interviews have been going on for a few months now,” the Business of Fashion published on Monday, alluding to preparation for Philo to be replaced. Yet when Céline was asked for comment, the opposite was confirmed: “We categorically deny any imminent departure of Phoebe Philo from Céline,” a spokesman for LVMH said.

Why the speculation?

Unnamed sources are saying Philo is leaving at the end of 2017, nearly 10 years after joining the brand in 2008. Céline is one of LVMH’s most successful companies, largely attributed to the turnaround actdioned by Philo, who’s aesthetic made it a must-have, season after season, and boosting its earnings for 200m euros per year to 700m euros.

Céline, of course, is not adverse to change. After years of eschewing the internet and e-commerce, the brand is finally thought to be embracing the digital realm and launching e-com later this year. This is in part due to the new chief executive Severine Merle, who replaced Marco Gobbetti, who left the brand to join Burberry in April.

According to the Business of Fashion, Philo has stayed in her role much longer than the average creative director, with nearly ten years under her belt. While Céline remains one of the stalwart brands of Paris, it’s growth rate has slowed, a prompt perhaps for Philo to consider new opportunities.

Photo credit: Phoebe Philo, courtesy of Celine

Toms hires John Whitledge as its new Creative Director

Toms has brought on board John Whitledge as its new Creative Director, reports Los Angeles Times. The report added that in his new role, Whitledge, co-founder of the Trovata fashion brand, which won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2005 and where he would continue to work even after joining Toms, is expected to bring in a change to Toms men’s collection, while reviving the shoe designs. His first range for Toms will be unveiled for the spring season.

Whitledge will start his design process by providing a new look and style to Toms’ popular Alpargata slip-on flat. For spring, the new creative head, aims to leverage on some of the company’s roots, while elevating the brand, the report says. Whitledge has earlier worked with Toms for their debut eyewear collection in 2011.

According to the company website, Toms was born, when traveling in Argentina in 2006, Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. Wanting to help them, he created Toms Shoes, a company that decided to provide a pair of shoes to a child in need against every pair of shoes purchased.

Picture:Facebook/Toms

Fashion flash sale website ShowroomPrivé has named Thomas Kienzi as chief financial officer, to succeed Nicolas Woosen, who is departing the company in the next few weeks.

Kienzi joined ShowroomPrivé in 2015 to assist with its listing on the stock exchange and its merger and acquisition operations, and last year was appointed the deputy chief financial officer.

In a statement, ShowroomPrivé said that Kienzi was “instrumental” in structuring the group's financial division, as well as during the acquisition and integration of Saldi Privati and Beauté Privée and more recently, during the merger with the Steinhoff group and its subsidiary Conforama.

"We are very pleased with the appointment of Thomas. It acknowledges the success of his journey within Showroomprivé,” said Thierry Petit and David Dayan, co-founders and co-chief executive officer’s of Showroomprivé. “As chief financial officer, he will bring us his extensive knowledge of the financial challenges that our society, our investors and our strategy are facing.”

Prior to joining Showroomprivé, Kienzi was an executive director at American bank Morgan Stanley, he has also worked at the Crédit Agricole CIB and the Deutsche Bank in Paris and London.

Diesel launches campaign for ‘chair executive officer’

Fashion brand Diesel has launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign fronted by its founder Renzo Rosso, seeking a candidate to fill the position of 'chair executive officer’, following the resignation of chief executive officer Alessandro Bogliolo over the summer.

The Italian brand launched the campaign via its Facebook and states it is looking for someone who has “amazing sitting skills”.

“Our chief executive officer has left, leaving an empty space in our hearts, but most importantly, an empty chair,” Rosso tells viewers in the video while a violin plays. “So I’m looking for a new CEO – chair executive officer.”

Rosso then goes on to ask: “What do you think you need to become one, an MBA degree, yeah, maybe.

“But as many of you want to sit in an important chair, first of all, you have to be good at sitting.”

The social-media driven campaign is calling on applicants to showcase their sitting skills with a gif or video uploaded to the Diesel Facebook page to be in with the chance of spending a week in the retailer’s head office in Italy and sitting “like a boss”.

Image: via Diesel Facebook

Derek Lovelock has confirmed that he is to stand down as chairman of British fashion retailer Jack Wills by the end of 2017, after joining the board a year ago to "pursue other interests".

The fashion and lifestyle brand said that Richard Wyatt, vice-chairman of Rothschilds, will take over as non-executive chairman.

Lovelock, who is also the chairman of Joe Brown and once chaired Oasis and Warehouse parent company Aurora Fashions, was brought on as chairman at Jack Wills a year go to assist the brand following the transaction in September 2016 where Union Lifestyle Limited acquired 100 percent of the share capital of the Jack Wills Group. The joint shareholders of this new entity became BlueGem Capital Partners LLP and Peter Williams, founder and chief executive of Jack Wills.

Williams, said: “Derek joined us as chairman a year ago to help the business through the first 12 months after the deal with BlueGem.

“During that first year the business has undergone a significant revitalisation and we have hired some very exciting new talent. The business is in increasingly great shape and so, just over a year on, Derek will be stepping down at the end of this year.”

The brand’s incoming chairman Wyatt was lead adviser to Williams during the transaction with BlueGem Capital Partners.

Williams added: “I have worked very closely with Richard for some time, including through the transaction with BlueGem, and am very excited that he will be formally joining us as chairman.”

Footwear and accessories retailer Dune London has named James Radford as its new international and wholesale director to drive forward the brand’s international growth.

Former general manager at FitFlop, Radford also served as head of merchandising international business at Rockport.

Dune London chief executive James Cox said: “James’ appointment comes at a very exciting time for Dune London as international expansion is a focal part of our overall growth strategy.

“James will be instrumental in the delivery of this plan by focusing efforts on specific markets with best in class support strategies and tactical initiatives which are regionally appropriate and perfectly aligned with our product and marketing investments.”

Dune executive chairman Daniel Rubin added: “This is a significant step in our strategy to become the leading global affordable luxury footwear and accessories brand.

“We are delighted to have James join our Board and fortunate to have extremely strong international networks and partners to ensure we continue to expand our global reach.”

In September, Dune London opened 10 new locations in South America, a 33rd store in the Middle East and two new European stand-alone stores in Switzerland and Serbia.

Hervé L. Leroux, founder of Hervé Léger, passes away

London - The French couturier behind the iconic bandage dress and founder of Hervé Léger, Hervé L. Leroux, has passed away at the age of 60. Leroux’s death was announced by the Federation of Fashion and Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers (Fédération de la haute couture et de la mode) on Friday morning, although details concerning his death have yet to be released.

The couturier, who was born with the name Hervé Peugnet, first started out his career after being discovered by Karl Lagerfeld. Leroux worked as Lagerfeld’s design assistant at Fendi and Chanel before setting out on his own in 1985. Leroux set up his own design label under the name Hervé Léger and quickly rose to fame in the 1990s thanks to his unique bandage dresses, which accentuated the female body and curves.

Towards the end of the decade, sales began to lag and Leroux lost control of the company and the commercial use of the brand name. It was purchased by the BCBG Max Azria group, who proceeded to work with Leroux for one more collection before pushing him out of the company. However, Leroux went on to found his own independently-financed couture house under the name Hervé L. Leroux in early 2000, a name that was given to him by his close friend and mentor, Karl Lagerfeld.

"He told me, 'Call yourself Leroux because your hair is red - not as red as it was, because you are older - but anyway it works, and everyone will know who you are,'" said the couturier in an interview with Style.com in 2006. He went on to refine his art of draping fabrics while working for his second label. Over the years his designs have been worn by the likes of Celine Dion, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett and Taylor Swift.

Credit: Pierre Verdy / AFP

Shop Direct CEO Alex Baldock resigns

Shop Direct has announce that Alex Baldock will be stepping down from his role as CEO in summer 2018. The company said in a statement that since joining the business in September 2012, Baldock has led Shop Direct through one of retail’s fastest and most successful digital transformations.

Commenting on his decision to leave he company, Alex Baldock said in a statement: “I’ve loved my time at Shop Direct. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to lead this exceptional team through such a rapid and far-reaching transformation. It’s now time for me to move on to the next challenge, but I will do so with fond memories and full confidence that the business will continue to thrive under new leadership.”

Alex Baldock to quit Shop Direct

The company added that he developed and pursued a clear strategy, shed the catalogue, driven consistent double digit growth at Very.co.uk, and repositioned the group as a technology leader with specialisms in mobile, data and personalisation. He’s also strengthened Shop Direct’s executive board and leadership team and revolutionised the group’s people, process, data and technology capabilities.

"Alex is a class act. He's been pivotal to the remarkable digital transformation of Shop Direct. He's brought strategic clarity, relentless execution, and inspired his people to get behind him at every step. He’ll head off to his next challenge with our very best wishes for, and every confidence in, his future success," added Aidan Barclay, Chairman of Shop Direct.

Under his leadership, Shop Direct delivered five consecutive years of record financial performance, with accelerating sales growth and an almost tenfold increase in profits. At the same time, the business enjoyed substantial improvements in customer satisfaction and colleague engagement, and been named Retail Week’s Pureplay Etailer of the Year for a record three years in a row. Baldock himself was earlier this year named by his peers as the Retail Leader of the Year.

Shop Direct earlier this week reported sales of 1.93 billion pounds (2.52 billion dollars), a growth of 5.6 percent on a like-for-like basis and underlying profit before tax of 160.4million pounds (209 million dollars), 10.2 percent rise on a like-for-like basis in 2016/17 up from 1.65 billion pounds (2.16 million dollars) and 16.5 million pounds (21.5 million dollars) respectively in 2011/12.

Photo credit:Shop Direct website