River Island CEO to exit in 2023
River Island’s CEO Will Kernan is to exit the mass-market fashion retailer next year to pursue personal projects. No replacement has been named so far and the company is now starting a search for a new CEO. Kernan will work closely with chairman Clive Lewis on a handover process.
Kernan already has business interests outside of River Island and outside of fashion as he’s chair of upscale biscuits firm Biscuiteers.
He’s been in his current CEO’s role since 2019, joining just six months before physical retailers faced their biggest challenge in decades as the pandemic hit and stores were forced to close.
Before that he was at cycling business Wiggle and also led The White Company for five years.
Kernan said he was excited about his next chapter but also has great affection for River Island and the controlling Lewis family.
River Island has been one of the more buoyant fashion retailers in the post-pandemic recovery period. It has invested heavily in its online ops and also unveiled its new River Studios store concept. And it has expanded in North America too via concessions in Nordstrom and Hudson’s Bay in Canada, as well as adding new categories including beauty and loungewear.
And less than two months ago it filed accounts that showed it returning to profit in its latest year after making a loss during the early days of the pandemic.
It managed to beat its pre-Covid performance as far profits were concerned, but it sill warned that trading has become more challenging as costs rise and consumers stay cautious.
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