UK: Ex-Topshop boss Shepherdson buys in to Whistles
Former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson has today (28 January) struck a deal with Baugur to purchase fashion brand Whistles from its Mosaic Fashions subsidiary with immediate effect.
Shepherdson becomes CEO of Whistles, and will be joined by Keith Wilks as finance director, and Jo Farrelly as marketing director, to take over the running of the Whistles business through a management buy-in, Baugur confirmed. Both Wilks and Farrelly worked with Shepherdson at Topshop.
It means Whistles is to be separated from Mosaic Fashions through an acquisition by a newly formed company, in which Shepherdson and her team have part ownership. Baugur is the lead shareholder and Glitnir Bank is also an investor in the new company.
Shepherdson said: "This is a very exciting venture. I am thrilled to be taking over such an established British brand with enormous potential.
"I look forward to drawing on the brand's heritage and developing it into an exciting and stimulating collection and store environment.
"We see a great opportunity to create something unique for the woman who loves great design, isn't scared of a little edginess and who wants to reference but not slavishly follow trends."
Gunnar Sigurdsson, chief executive of Baugur, said: "We are delighted to invest in the business with Jane and her team.
"Whistles is a fantastic brand with a great potential and with the talent and experience that Jane and her team bring, we have no doubt that they will take advantage of the solid foundation that has already been built and drive Whistles to new heights."
Derek Lovelock, chief executive of Mosaic Fashions, said: "Whistles is a great brand which has grown strongly under the leadership of Amanda Burrows and her team.
"However, given Mosaic's strategy to build scaleable international brands we believe that Jane and her team will have the focus and resources to take Whistles to its next level."
Shepherdson is widely credited with having revolutionised Topshop, and since leaving has advised non-profit organisations on their fashion strategies, including People Tree and Oxfam.
Whistles was acquired by Mosaic Fashions in 2004, and currently has over 40 sites across the UK with another 40 concessions in department stores.
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