LONDON — Karyn Fenn, joint managing director of Topshop and part of the team that replaced Jane Shepherdson, has resigned. She will remain in her post until January, a Topshop statement said Monday.
Fenn and another Topshop veteran, Mary Homer, were both promoted to joint managing directors in a reshuffle after Topshop brand director Shepherdson left last fall. Shepherdson is credited by many with having been instrumental in building Topshop into one of the world’s hottest fast-fashion retailers.
Sources said Homer would continue in her role, and that Fenn would not be replaced. Both Fenn, who had been with Topshop for 20 years, and Homer worked closely with Shepherdson.
Earlier this year, Shepherdson was named a product adviser and member of the advisory board at People Tree, a London ethical fashion brand that she introduced onto the Topshop floor last year.
“I would like to thank [Karyn Fenn] for the contribution made to the brand, especially over the last five years since my acquisition in October 2002,” Topshop owner Philip Green said in a statement Monday.
But he made it clear the retailer’s success was a group effort. “Topshop continues to grow and prosper thanks to the significant effort, energy and enthusiasm shown by all the people involved in its development,” he added.
An industry source said Fenn was a talented member of the team, but referred to Topshop as “its own ecosystem” run by scores of competent people as well as committed, longtime buyers “who treat the business as if it were their own.”
Another source dismissed speculation in the British press that Green was responsible for Fenn’s departure. The source added that while Green is a hands-on manager, his focus lately has mostly been the Kate Moss line, rather than the overall Topshop offer. “That is a very personal project for him — he was the one who made that happen,” the source said.
In the statement Monday, Green said there were plans for “several” Topshop megastores to open over the next 18 months, while the next Kate Moss collection will launch worldwide at the end of this month.
He added that expansion plans in the U.S. were still progressing, although no store sites have been confirmed. As reported, Green is looking for three retail spaces in different parts of Manhattan, and plans to spend about $100 million on the trio.
This story first appeared in the August 7, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.