Simon Whitehouse leaving J.W. Anderson, as another CEO departs the LVMH empire
It’s all change at LVMH, where another respected CEO in the extended group is set to leave a thriving fashion house. Simon Whitehouse, the respected and energetic CEO of J.W. Anderson, one of fashion’s hottest young houses, will quit the company at the end of year.
Whitehouse joined Anderson in June 2014, when he became the fledgling label’s first chief executive. His arrival came less than a year after LVMH acquired a minority stake in the house, which was founded by Jonathan Anderson in 2008. The news of his future departure comes five days after LVMH was forced to confirm that at the end of January, Sidney Toledano would leave his position as CEO of Christian Dior, the luxury group’s most famous fashion brand. Anderson has also been the highly acclaimed creative director for the past four years of another key fashion house within LVMH: Loewe, the Madrid-based house often referred to as the Hermès of Spain.
Reached at the young house’s London headquarters on Shacklewell Lane in Dalston, the preferred east London neighbourhood for emerging designers, Whitehouse confirmed he would be leaving at the end of the year, but declined any other comment. LVMH is understood to be already interviewing potential candidates to succeed Whitehouse. However, neither LVMH’s EVP of Human Resources Chantal Gaemperle nor Hélène Freyss, the group’s communications director - both of whose offices said they were “very busy in meetings” - returned calls to FashionNetwork.com.
Sources indicated that the departure was amicable, and came from Whitehouse’s desire for a change of lifestyle. An ultra-marathon runner, Whitehouse plans to raise $1 million next year in a series of planned runs for the Mind mental health charity. He had already presaged his upcoming departure on his @simonsrockyroad Instagram account, with images of Abraham Lincoln, and quotes from the US President, reading “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in the years.”
Whitehouse leaves the company with an excellent reputation. During his four-year reign, he was instrumental in connecting Anderson with major new partnerships. This fall, the Ulster-born designer unleashed his collaboration with Converse, after debuting the collection to the press and buyers during Pitti Uomo in Florence in June. The departing executive also oversaw the link-up with Japanese giant retailer Uniqlo, creating a capsule collection of 34 pieces which started retailing in some 1,000 doors worldwide on September 21.
Prior to joining Anderson, Whitehouse, who was born in Leeds, held executive positions at Matthew Williamson and Diesel. A northerner like Anderson, though from northern England not Northern Ireland like the designer, Whitehouse also ushered in the house’s e-commerce site. Understandably, observers opined that his CEO shoes will not be easy to fill.
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