Uniqlo appoints first female CEO for its Japan business

Casual-wear retailer Uniqlo has promoted a former manager of a busy Tokyo store to take charge of operations in its home market of Japan, where population decline makes maintaining earnings a challenge.

Maki Akaida, a 40-year-old group senior vice president at parent company Fast Retailing, assumed the role of CEO for Uniqlo’s Japanese business this month.

After joining Uniqlo in 2001, Akaida worked at stores in areas ranging from Tokyo’s posh Ginza district and Shanghai to Niigata Prefecture. When managing a store in the capital’s desirable suburb of Kichijoji, she was known for successfully overseeing one of the most popular Uniqlo outlets in the country.

Akaida is the second person to hold the Japan CEO title after a long reign by Fast Retailing Chairman, President and CEO Tadashi Yanai. She replaces Takao Kuwahara, a group executive vice president at the parent who had succeeded Yanai as head of the Japan business last fall.

Fast Retailing is putting more women into management and has moved the office for the effort from human resources to right under the president. Directing the office starting this month is Mari Kogiso, director of the Gender Investment and Innovation Department at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

Ex-banker Kogiso specializes in environmental, social and governance investing and was responsible for the foundation’s 2017 establishment of a roughly $100 million Asia Women Impact Fund. She works to create opportunities for women and to address the gender gap.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review


River Island hires ex-The White Company boss as CEO

River Island has hired the former boss of Wiggle and The White Company as its new chief executive.

Will Kernan will join office in September, and will be replacing current chief executive Ben Lewis, who is stepping down from the role after nine years.

Lewis, who is the nephew of River Island founder Bernard Lewis, will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Kernan led The White Company for five years, before serving as the chief operating officer at New Look for 13 years.

“Ben steps aside following a distinguished tenure and the board is extremely grateful for his leadership,” River Island chair Clive Lewis said.

“Succession has been carefully planned and, following a rigorous selection process, we are confident Will has the right skills, experience and vision to lead the company in this exciting new chapter.”

Source: Retail Gazette

KappAhl’s new CEO is Lindex’s Elisabeth Pereg

Struggling fashion retailer KappAhl, which owns the Lindex and Newbie chains, has named Lindex exec Elisabeth Peregi as the parent company’s new group President and CEO. Peregi, who “has a solid leadership and retail experience,” will take up her new position during spring next year

Chairman Anders Bülow talked up her “wide expertise and industry experience,” and said she “has what it takes to successfully lead KappAhl through the rapid development of our industry.”

The 47-year-old graduate of the University of Gothenburg’s School of Business, Economics and Law has spent 19 years at the Lindex chain. Most recently she was Country Manager Sweden and Great Britain, and before that, acting President and CEO. Previously, she had been CFO, Head of Franchise Operations and Country Manager Norway.

“KappAhl is a strong brand and I am looking forward to leading the company to new successes together with my new colleagues,” she said.

Sixty-five-year-old KappAhl operates 370 stores under its Lindex and Newbie brands and generated sales of SEK4.8 billion in its latest fiscal year.

Listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, it has faced challenging times of late and has seen plenty of management change.

In June, board member Göran Bille took over as acting CEO with immediate effect as Danny Feltmann exited his position as CEO on the back of weak results and disagreements over strategy.

Then in September it said that Maria Segergren, VP Assortment and Design at KappAhl, had resigned and would leave next spring.

Source: fashionnetwork.com

Italian menswear label Corneliani replaces CEO Paolo Roviera with Luigi Ferrando

On 26 November, Italian luxury menswear label Corneliani announced a major change at the head of the company: Paolo Roviera, CEO and General Manager of Corneliani since July 2016, has stepped down by mutual consent with the company. The board of directors has unanimously appointed Luigi Ferrando as the new CEO in his place. Ferrando is an experienced manager, having served as CEO and Chief Restructuring Officer for several Italian companies, among them Welfare Company, Valota, Vitaldent and Unopiù.

Corneliani, contacted by FashionNetwork.com, confirmed the growth targets set by the eponymous founding family in the strategic plan drawn up in June 2016, when Bahraini investment fund Investcorp acquired a 51% stake in Corneliani. The Italian label was then valued at about $100 million, approximately €88 million.

Corneliani’s retail expansion is chiefly targeting the USA, one of the most attractive markets for high-end menswear. The label is present in the USA with offices and a showroom in New York, where it plans to open its first monobrand store in the country. Asia is Corneliani’s second retail priority. The label already operates several monobrand stores in the region, managed with local partners in both China and Japan, and is planning to open new franchises. Further retail expansion is also planned in the UK and Russia.

In 2017, Corneliani generated a revenue of €111 million, on par with 2016. The Italian market accounted for 25% of the total. Corneliani currently operates about 100 monobrand stores worldwide, between directly operated and franchised ones. According to the label, its three-year objective is to reach 150 stores, growing the share of revenue generated by the direct retail channel in the medium term to 35-40%, as opposed to the current 20%.

Source: fashionnetwork.com

Columbia Sportswear adds former Gap CFO to board

Columbia Sportswear Company has named Sabrina Simmons as the company’s newest board director and member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance and Compensation Committees.

The Columbia Sportswear board said they intend to nominate Simmons for election by the company’s shareholders to a full term as a board member at the company’s 2019 annual meeting of shareholders.

Simmons currently serves as a member of the board and audit and finance committee chair for Williams-Sonoma Inc., in addition to serving as a member of the board and audit committee chair for E.l.f. Cosmetics Inc.

Previously, Simmons served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap Inc, where she managed global financial functions like corporate financial planning and analysis, treasury, risk management, tax, investor relations, controllership, the corporate shared service centers and internal audit.

“We are thrilled to have Sabrina join our board of directors,” said Tim Boyle, Columbia’s president and CEO. “She brings a wealth of global retail experience, leadership and financial expertise that will add great value as we continue to invest in our strategic priorities, including to expand and improve global direct-to-consumer operations, and focus on our brand-led, consumer-first approach.”

Columbia Sportswear Company was founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, and is currently distributed in approximately 90 countries. In addition to the Columbia brand, the company also manages Mountain Hardwear, Soreland PrAna.

Danish label Ganni hires new CEO Andrea Baldo

An Italian manager is taking charge of Danish label Ganni from October 22 2018. Andrea Baldo, former CEO of leather goods brand Coccinelle, has been picked to step into the same role for Ganni. He will be replacing Nicolaj Reffstrup, who was the label’s CEO since 2009.

Ganni was founded in 2000 by Frans Truelsen, and its original core business was cashmere. Nine years later, it was bought by Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup who, thanks to an effective marketing strategy targeted at influencers and journalists, gave the brand a new lease of life. So much so that in December 2017, the L Catterton investment fund (an affiliate of LVMH) acquired a majority stake in the label.

“We are very excited at having Andrea [Baldo] on board. He has an in-depth knowledge of the industry, as well as the rare expertise acquired managing both luxury labels like Margiela and Marni, and more contemporary brands. Together, we will form an unbeatable team. Personally, I hope to have more time for working on our sustainable development plans, on our label’s worldwide deployment and on its digital strategy,” said Nicolaj Reffstrup about the new appointment.

Ganni is currently distributed via nearly 400 retailers worldwide, in addition to its 21 stores in Scandinavia. It is accustomed to collaborating with the most prestigious fashion e-tailers, and from May 2017 it featured exclusive capsule collections on Mytheresa and Net-a-Porter. Last March, Ganni decided to sell its first denim line on Net-a-Porter.

Source: fashionnetwork.com

International Executive Summit 2018

After two days the seventh edition of the International Executive Summit ended. As every year it took place in Villa d’Este, Cernobbio.

The International Executive Summit represented an unique moment of meeting and discussion where Managing Directors, opinion-makers  Italian and international professionals shared strategies, vision and ideas.

This edition of the conference dedicated to the Top Management of the most important retailers and brands Company began on Friday 5 October with the “Pre-Summit” session dedicated to the comparison and narration of the disruptive strategies of some of the companies that have distinguished themselves for bringing efficiency. Thanks to our speakers Valérie Carreau, North West Europe Country Transporeon Group Manager, Nikolay Yanev Head of Amazon Prime Now Marketplace, Francesco Secchiaroli Managing Director of Cambridge Venture Found.

Thesecond part of the day was focus on the theme of innovation thanks to the Maurizio Marchiori, Branding Futurist, Tom Lewand CEO Shinola and Maniele Tasca General Manager of Selex.

The day continued with many guests who talked about the progress of the retail sector in Italy and abroad with Christian Verschueren, General Director of Eurocommerce, Jacques Creyssel Executive Director FCD, Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè Associate Professor SDA Bocconi and Giulio Tremonti, Professor of Tax Law at the University of Pavia.

The first day ended with an all-female meeting with stories by Chiara Ercole, CEO Saclà and Eleonora Graffione President Coralis Consortium, with Andrea Farinet Professor Cattaneo University as chairman.

On the second day of the conference it was the moment of speeches by Simone Zucca, Sector Leader – Retail Fashion Luxury & Finance at Google, Giuseppe Cunetta CDO Mediaworld and Chieh Huang as Boxed CEO.

In conclusion, Daniele Tirelli, President of Retail Institute Italy, presented a research on Sunday Clousure, commented on by Giorgio Santambrogio, CEO of Gruppo VéGé and Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè. Last panel with an interview with Luigi Marattin, Professor of the Department of Economics at the University of Bologna.

N Brown CEO quits, names interim replacement

Struggling N Brown said Wednesday that its CEO Angela Spindler is leaving the company at the end of this month and we have to assume that the departure is linked to performance because of the speed with which it’s happening and the fact that the firm has no permanent replacement lined up as yet.

The Simply Be owner said it would now “commence the search for a new chief executive” and that Steve Johnson who is currently CEO of the firm’s Financial Services business will assume the role of interim group CEO until a new top executive is appointed. There was no hint as to whether Johnson might be handed the role permanently, nor whether he would want to take it on.

Chairman Matt Davies said of the surprise announcement: “We recognise that now is an appropriate time to search for a new leader who can take the business forward through the next phase of its development.”

But there is still plenty of goodwill between all the parties involved. Davies added: “I would like to thank Angela for her significant contribution as CEO. Angela has led the business with passion, energy and a relentless focus on building on the group’s industry-leading fit specialism, as well as building N  Brown’s online capability and expertise.”

And he also said that “she has had to contend with significant legacy issues and a challenging retail backdrop and has brought her great personal qualities and values to the way she has led our business.” He also wished her well for the future.

Spindler has led the firm for five years and said the work that has been done “will form a strong foundation for the coming years,” also wishing the business and her temporary successor well.

The group is due to report its latest set of figures soon, but its last report didn’t make happy reading back in the summer. The 13 weeks up to June 2 saw group revenue up only 0.4% and product revenue fell by 2.8%. A 9% rise in its financial services revenue helped its bottom line, but it’s clear that times are tough and the firm is battling to turn itself around in what’s a very difficult period for retail overall.

McArthurGlen names Susie McCabe deputy CEO

McArthurGlen Group, the owner of designer outlet villages in Europe and North America, has poached a retail heavyweight from Under Armour for the newly-created position of deputy CEO.

Susie McCabe will be joining the group from Under Armour, where she was senior vice president of global retail for the past four years. In this role, she was responsible for creating and implementing all aspects of the sportswear company’s worldwide retail strategy, overseeing store openings in 30 new countries. The US brand more than doubled its retail revenues during her tenure.

Prior to that, she spent 16 years at Ralph Lauren Corporation, holding a number of senior roles including president of factory store concepts, where she led the strategic director and operation of the brand’s outlet stores in the US and Europe.

She also held senior positions in Ralph Lauren’s full price business, and chaired the Ralph Lauren Corporation0s Retail Diversity Council for nine years.

In her new role, McCabe will report to McArthurGlen chairman Joey Kaempfer, and CEO Julia Calabrese.

Kaempfer said: “Julia and I are delighted to welcome Susie to McArthurGlen to support us and the team in this newly-created position.  Her extensive retail and management experience and her deep knowledge of satisfying the customer will be invaluable as we continue to drive growth, primarily by focusing on the experience of our guests and our brand partners.”

McCabe added: “I have worked closely with McArthurGlen from the position of a brand partner for many years.  They are the best management team in the outlet business and I am thrilled to be joining them.”

McArthurGlen’s portfolio includes Ashford Designer Outlet outside London, Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet outside Liverpool and York Designer Outlet, which are home to luxury brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Michael Kors, Coach, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger.

Source: fashionnetwork.com

Lanvin confirms the appointment of Jean-Philippe Hecquet as CEO

Lanvin has confirmed its appointment of Jean-Philippe Hecquet as CEO. The oldest couture house still in business, which has seen its sales plunge over the past two years and which was acquired at the beginning of 2018 by Chinese group Fosun via its subsidiary Fosun Fashion Group, has said it is “proud to announce this appointment.”

“We think this is a significant and exciting event for Lanvin, which marks the beginning of a new chapter,” commented Joann Cheng, president of the Fosun Fashion Group and of Lanvin, underscoring “the vast experience of Jean-Philippe in the fashion and luxury industries” as well as “his strong entrepreneurial spirit and proven managerial skills.”

Hecquet has over 20 years’ experience in the fashion industry. Over the past four years, he served notably as CEO at SMCP-owned French ready-to-wear label Sandro, driving its growth alongside its founder Evelyne Chétrite.

Previously, the executive spent 14 years at LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, where he had several operational positions between Paris and the United States (serving as the vice-president of North American operations and managing the Canadian subsdiary, amongst others), followed by a stint at Tag Heuer, the watch brand also owned by LVMH, where he was director of international retail.

His appointment comes after the acquisition of the label by the Fosun Fashion Group, which hopes to accelerate the relaunch of the fashion house. “Now that there is a new general manager at Lanvin, the appointment of a creative director is a priority,” commented the label in a press release.

Since the ejection of Alber Elbaz in 2015, Lanvin has failed to regain its creative momentum, despite the best efforts of the two designers that succeeded Elbaz: Bouchra Jarrar, followed by Olivier Lapidus, who was dismissed in March. Since then, the most far-fetched of rumours concerning the creative directorship have swept Paris, but, as the group seems to be suggesting, the arrival of a new creative chief may be announced very soon.

Source: fashionnetwork.com