Important professional moves of the week!

Endaba Group


Raf Simons is exiting his role as Artistic Director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Christian Dior after a three-and-a-half year collaboration. According to the French luxury fashion house, Simons “reached this decision for personal reasons”. Simons’ successor is yet to be identified, however, they have already commenced their search for a replacement. His departure is sure to incite fierce speculation about who is next to take on one of the most distinguished creative roles in fashion. As for Simons, his next move remains unknown, though he may be restrained by a non-compete clause, as is typical for this kind of role, which would temporarily prevent him from working for a competitor.


Lee Holman, who was Senior Vice President of Women’s, has been named Executive Vice President and Creative Director, a new position where he will be responsible for both men’s and women’s product design and report to Chief Executive Laurent Potdevin. Tom Waller has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Whitespace, reporting to Potdevin. Stuart Haseldon, Chief Financial Officer, is assuming wider operational responsibilities, adding Executive Vice President of Operations to his title. Tara Poseley, who joined in 2013 as Chief Product Officer, will be leaving Lululemon after a transitional period. The company has eliminated the Chief Product Officer position. They are also currently search for a candidate for the newly-created position of Chief Supply Chain Officer. The changes Lululemon has made to their organisational structure, including the new role of Creative Director, are part of their 10-year vision.


Brian Lange, most recently President of the Americas at Vilebrequin, has been tapped as Chief Executive Officer of the Americas for Wolford. He’s hoping to make the Austria-based innerwear company be more nimble and reactive. Brian Lange, most recently President of the Americas at Vilebrequin, has been tapped as Chief Executive Officer of the Americas for Wolford. He’s hoping to make the Austria-based innerwear company be more nimble and reactive. Lange will report to Ashish Sensarma, who was named CEO in 2014.


Brendan Hoffman, former Chief Executive Officer of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., has joined Vince as their CEO. He takes over for Mark Brody, who served as interim CEO since July when Jill Granoff departed. They still have to fill the position of Chief Financial Officer. Hoffman’s appointment is effective immediately and he will also be a member of the board. Brody is remaining with the business to ensure a smooth transition and will continue to be on the board.


Michael Sharp has been Chief Executive of the department store group since 2011. Sharp joined Debenhams (or its predecessor the Burton Group) in 1985 and was Deputy Chief Executive of Debenhams from 2008 before being promoted to CEO in 2011. He will remain Chief Executive throughout the Christmas trading period and into next year, until his replacement is found to ensure a smooth transition. He will also “evaluate internal and external candidates” alongside the board. Group trading director Suzanne Harlow, who has been with Debenhams for c.20 years, has been tipped as a possible successor to Sharp.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Jeanetta Darno has been named Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. She was Senior Vice President of Diversity at Huntington National Bank and has 22 years of experience guiding organisations’ global diversity practices. She will report to John Gabrielli, who is A&F’s Senior Vice President and Head of Human Resources.


Lindsay Dunsmuir, who left Ben Sherman in July after almost 8 years, is joining Maplin as Chief Financial Officer. She left her role of Chief Operating Officer at Ben Sherman following its sale to US firm Marquee Brands and replace Lawrence Coppack at Maplin, who was working on an interim basis. Siobhan Fitzpatrick, who was Homebase’s Group Director of Multichannel, has been poached by Maplin and will take on the newly-created role of Marketing and Ecommerce Director at Maplin.

French Connection

Maria Chen, who was at Gap for two years as Vice President of Global Design, has been appointed French Connection’s new Womenswear Director. Her leaving date and start date are not yet known. Her appointment follows a number of changes to the retailer’s senior team. Karen Bonser, Design Creative Director, left the brand after three years, whilst Adam Castleton, Group Finance Director, left after only two. They are in the process of making operational and personnel changes to increase their performance, particularly in design and merchandising. Chen’s hire is another step to improving their range and drive to break-even.


Managing Director Mark Price is leaving the grocer and John Lewis Partnership, where he is Deputy Chairman, after 33 years with the partnership. He is leaving in April next year. Rob Collins, who has been with he Partnership for 22 years and is Waitrose’s Retail Director, will succeed Price. His departure may surprise some, as he was seen as a potential successor to Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield. Collins has been a central figure in Waitrose’ management team for many years and his strong leadership skills and operational success has ensured him a place on the board’s succession plan for some time.