Fashion retailer Jack Wills reveals new line-up following reshuffle of top bosses
The revolving door at Jack Wills has swung again as the preppy fashion retailer seeks to sharpen up its top team for the next phase of expansion.
Three directors have recently either left or are set to leave Jack Wills, while a series of executives are joining the private-equity-backed chain that counts boy-band One Direction as fans.
The changes are largely being led by Wendy Becker, the former Vodafone director, who joined the retailer in August to help whip it into shape after its performance had waned.
Jack Wills' international boss Tim Patten, sourcing chief Glen Tinton and human resources director Helena Feltham are all exiting. Its finance director Paul Woolf, who joined gym group Virgin Active, and the head of UK stores Liz Hall both left at the start of this year. A source said the changes were part of the "next step in Jack Wills' journey".
In the other direction, Alan Johnson became its UK retail director in February, Emily Tate joined as chief financial officer last week, Sanjay Sharma arrived as international director this week and Mark Strachan becomes its sourcing director in July. Emma Sheller starts next week in the newly-created role of chief marketing officer.
Jack Wills, which has 55 UK shops, 14 in the US, four in the Middle East and three in Hong Kong, is popular among preppy teenagers and university students. But the chain suffered a pre-tax loss of £4.75m over the year to 31 January 2012, which it partly blamed on its rapid international expansion.
This helped Jacks Wills to grow its turnover by 29 per cent to £120.14m over the period. Worse news came in the autumn when the group axed its sister chain Aubin Wills and 11 stores.
Jack Wills was co-founded in 1999 by Peter Williams and Rob Shaw who identified a gap in the market for selling British heritage-inspired goods to university students.
The pair still own 70 per cent of the business, while the private equity firm Inflexion owns the rest.
The retailer's trading over the last year is unclear, although its online sales are thought to have grown robustly. In the US, Jack Wills has stores around the Ivy League campuses of Harvard and Yale, and other sites along the east coast.
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