New Look decides not to hire Dumont López, Wightman to stay

In a shock move, UK fashion retail giant New Look said that ex-Esprit and Zara design exec Paula Dumont López will not be joining as its new chief creative officer.

New Look's creative direction will stay under its existing CCO's control - New Look

The announcement came Monday afternoon, just over week after CEO Anders Kristiansen quit the company after half a decade at the helm.

The company said the decision around Dumont López came after a review of its overall strategy. “The board of New Look said it had reviewed its buying, merchandising and design priorities, and decided not to hire Dumont López,” was virtually all it said on the subject.

So who will lead the creative team? Step forward Roger Wightman. Yes, with Kristiansen now out of the picture, the man who is currently in creative control is staying on “to ensure continuity.”

The company had announced Dumont López as its new creative chief with much fanfare earlier this year and her arrival at the firm was imminent.

Why such a radical change of direction? New Look has been struggling to light a fire under its sales and profits in recent periods with turnover and earnings down and even online sales failing to ignite. And with Kristiansen, who made the decision to appoint Dumont López, being a casualty of the firm’s renewed focus on returning to growth, it seems that the retailer is backtracking on plans for the creative direction he wanted to follow too.

The company had been targeting faster trend reaction and a younger profile. But it seems that Danny Barrasso, previously the UK and Ireland managing director and now in temporarily in charge, has faith in Wightman’s ability to lead a recovery.

New Look was taken over by South African investor Brait two years ago.

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