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Published
Sep 1, 2017
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New Look CEO to step down as UK MD takes over for now

Published
Sep 1, 2017

New Look’s CEO Anders Kristiansen is stepping down from his role after five years at the once fast-growing fashion retailer, the company said Friday.


New Look


Danny Barrasso, the UK and Ireland managing director has taken over as interim CEO with immediate effect and the board has launched a search process to identify and appoint a permanent successor to Kristiansen.
Chairman John Gnodde said: “I would like to thank Anders for the fantastic contribution he has made during his time here. Under his leadership, the company has made significant progress and we wish him well for the future.”
 
But he added: ”As New Look embarks on its next phase of development, we have mutually agreed that it is the appropriate time for a change to the leadership of the company. Danny and the wider executive team have the full support of all the shareholders to provide continued operational progress and leadership as we search for a permanent CEO.”

While there are reports that Kristiansen is set to move to another, unspecified role in the next few months, those words “we have mutually agreed that it is the appropriate time for a change to the leadership” suggest that this is more than just a case of him having found a new, better job.

When he joined New Look he certainly had a strong track record having spearheaded Bestseller’s large business in China, as well as having worked at office supplies specialists Lyreco, Herlitz and Staples.

In the early years he helped turn around the retailer and prepare it for a £2 billion takeover by South African investor Brait. He also saw its drive into menswear with a raft of standalone menswear stores being opened in recent years. He made New Look the UK’s third largest online fashion brand and most recently he was responsible for appointing new chief creative officer Paula Dumont López (formerly of Esprit and Zara).

But the company’s growth plan has stalled of late with a succession of weak results and a growing debt pile. Last month it reported declining sales and profits and even its website sales fell, a rare occurrence in an increasingly online-focused fashion retail world.

Last month there were reports too that its £1.2 billion debt load was becoming increasingly attractive to distressed debt investors.

The company is working hard to turn around its fortunes, with Dumont López’s arrival eagerly awaited, with more expansion thrusts such as its move into China, and with initiatives like its sponsorship of London Fashion Week that was announced this week.

Clearly New Look’s owners feel that as well as a new creative chief, a new top executive is also needed to deal with its problems in a market that is only likely to get even more challenging.

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