Topshop loses managing director to The White Company

Mary Homer Image copyright The White Company
Image caption Mary Homer will replace The White Company's former chief executive Will Kernan

Sir Philip Green's fashion chain, Topshop, is losing its trailblazing managing director Mary Homer to The White Company.

Mary Homer helped make the retailer into a global brand that constantly managed to lead fashion on the High Street.

Other key staff have left the Green empire at Burton, Miss Selfridge and Topshop/Topman in recent months.

Sir Philip has found himself in the headlines over the collapse of BHS.

Earlier this year, he agreed with the Pensions Regulator to pay £363m to help cover the deficit in the BHS pension's scheme.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sir Philip Green at the opening ceremony of a Topshop flagship store in Hong Kong in February

Mary Homer joined Topshop over thirty years ago and has been its managing director for 11 years.

Under her leadership, the retailer now operates 620 shops and franchises in more than 40 countries.

The White Company said no start date had been set yet.

Ms Homer is reported to have said her departure was "amicable".

"Fashion instincts"

GlobalData retail analyst Sofie Willmott said: "Her quick reactions to trading in and out of product trends and procuring an agile supply base has ensured the retailer has remained one of the key players in the increasingly competitive young fashion market.

"[Ms] Homer's fashion instincts have paid off, supported by strong buying and merchandising teams who are passionate about the product they are selling."

Image copyright The White Company
Image caption Homer will bring considerable fashion experience and help to grow The White Company overseas.

Ms Willmott said her departure would have "an impact" on Topshop, but she said the remaining senior management were "experienced and well established" and should use this as an opportunity to bring in new ideas, such as a greater emphasis on e-commerce.

She said: "[Ms] Homer will bring to The White Company strong trading experience, which will allow for quicker reactions to fast-selling products and may grow the focus on clothing.

"In addition to this, with international growth being a priority for The White Company, with US stores opening this summer, [Ms] Homer will bring knowledge of international expansion, both via stores and third party retailers online which has been a key focus for Topshop in recent years."

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