Feb 16, 2021
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Start-Rite chief steps down after two years

Feb 16, 2021

Heritage kids’ footwear brand Start-Rite is losing its CEO of two years with 42-year-old Kate Tansley stepping down due to “ongoing health issues”.


The executive will stay connected to the company, which celebrates its 230th anniversary next year, as she will become an active non-executive director.

Tansley took on the top role at the Norwich-based firm in early 2019, but she actually joined the company in spring 2018 as product and sourcing director. Prior to that she had held roles as senior buyer at BHS and brand director at Multiyork. 

She said of her decision to stand down that “Start-Rite is a wonderful British heritage brand and I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity with such a talented team who will continue to drive the brand forward. Due to ongoing health issues, the time is right for me to step aside and I am pleased to be able to remain with the business and support the brand along its ongoing very positive trajectory”.

The company is actively recruiting for a replacement who will join after one of the most turbulent periods in its long history. In its last annual report last year, it said the pandemic has had an “unprecedented impact on the environment in which we operate. The effects are far-reaching and as yet are not fully defined”.

But it also said that it has seen “strong growth” in online sales. That’s even though kids have had less need for new shoes in the past year, especially school shoes. However, the UK’s return to school (currently scheduled for March 8) could mean a sales boom for the brand. The company recently launched a vegan line specifically targeted as shoes for school.

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