Feb 9, 2018
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New Look's Barrasso exits, chairman brings Axon back as retail chief

Feb 9, 2018

The news keeps on flowing from New Look at the moment and the latest development at the struggling retailer is that UK and Ireland Managing Director Danny Barrasso has left with immediate effect. Meanwhile another exec from New Look’s past has been brought back.

New Look

Barrasso, who had stood in as interim company chief after CEO Anders Kristiansen left last autumn, had been at the business for five years. But in the latter part of his time there, the fashion retailer saw a sharp deterioration in its performance. That was despite it expanding its store count fast, adding to its menswear offer and targeting younger consumers. 

CEO Kristiansen’s exit was a consequence of the decline and a pre-tax loss of £123.5 million for the latest nine-month period (as comp sales fell nearly 11%) showed that it still has lots of work to do. It also showed that Barrasso’s interim period in charge hadn’t driven any improvement, although given the challenges facing the firm, it was always clear that the turnaround would take some time.

Danny Barrasso wasn’t the only major management change on Thursday with international MD Sven Gaede also due to leave at the end of this month. He has been with the company for three years.

On a positive note for the future, group operations director Dan Monaghan will now run the firm’s China business and Russell Harrison, who headed the retail team in the UK and Ireland, has been named Finance Director, reporting to CFO Richard Collyer. 

Importantly too, new Executive Chairman Alistair McGeorge has brought Mark Axon on board as Retail Director from Australian discount chain Big W. He had worked at New Look from 2012 to 2014 before joining Big W and will join on February 19.

McGeorge said of his appointment: “We look forward to welcoming Mark back to the business. [He] brings a wealth of retail expertise and his prior experience at the company will be valuable as we rebuild our position within the UK market.” 

The changes are signs that McGeorge is preparing for a root and branch reboot of the company as it faces what some have said are existential threats in the face of a tough UK fashion market, a fast migration online and a number of missteps on the part of the business.

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