May 19, 2020
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Jigsaw board is slimmed down as coronavirus crisis goes on

May 19, 2020

Jigsaw has seen six of its board members exiting on the back of a streamlining process due to the coronavirus crisis, a report said on Tuesday.


The company, which had been struggling long before this year, said the outgoing board members include Isabel Spearman and Silvana Rossi. They only joined last summer as brand consultants.

Also stepping down is Despina Don-Wauchope, another key name who joined last year (from Landsec) as finance director. David Hall, Richard Walker and James Murray-Wells have also left the board.

The company said in a statement that the move is part of its Covid-19-linked effort to “ensure the business is more agile and better placed to deal with the challenges posed by the current outbreak”.

The news was first reported by Retail Gazette.

Jigsaw added that “now is the right time to have a smaller board that is fully focused on helping us get through this difficult period and on reopening our stores when it is safe to do so”.

The 50-year-old brand had once been seen as one of the stronger performers in UK retail but has struggled in recent years and its appointment of new directors last year was part of its plan to turn its fortunes around. 

A year earlier, the company had struck a £20 million rescue deal that saw retail tycoon David Ross and Jigsaw founder John Robinson pumping in £5 million each and Secure Trust Bank committing £10 million to replace Barclays as Jigsaw's main lender.

But despite that deal, its fortunes didn’t improve. Long-standing and well-respected boss Peter Ruis stepped down later in 2018 and more recent moves highlighted how tough times were pre-pandemic. In the New Year, the company reportedly asked its landlords for rent cuts and it took the decision to close its luxury emporium, The Shop at Bluebird, in Covent Garden.

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