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Theo Fennell Bids Farewell

Jewelry designer Theo Fennell will step down as creative director of his company next year, and cease to be involved in any operational management.

LONDON — Jewelry designer Theo Fennell will step down as creative director of his company next year, and cease to be involved in any operational management.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The British designer famous for his use of sorbet-colored gemstones and bejeweled cross, key and horn pendants, will not be replaced as creative director. A Fennell spokeswoman said Wednesday the company has a strong design team and it will remain in place.

Although Fennell will be stepping down from his official posts as creative director and a company director, he will continue in an “ambassadorial” role, and will consult on design. His current contract ends in 12 months, and the company said the board is discussing a new, long-term design contract with him.

“Design has always been the hub of my professional life and so it will remain,” said Fennell on Wednesday. “However, there are a number of other design areas outside luxury goods with which I would like to become involved. Going forward, I hope to continue my relationship with the group, and yet have the flexibility to enter new creative arenas.”

At the end of last year, former Burberry executive Pamela Harper joined Theo Fennell plc as chief executive and will continue in her operational role.

In a research statement Wednesday, Andrew Wade of Seymour Pierce said the business would continue as usual, and would not lose any of its association with Fennell. “He continues to own a significant part of the business, so should be strongly incentivised in his ambassadorial role,” he said.

Founded in 1982 by Fennell, the label is popular among London celebrities including Elton John, Liz Hurley and David and Victoria Beckham. The business is listed on London’s AIM exchange, although more than 70 percent is still owned by Fennell and his business partners.

The company has a flagship in South Kensington, not far from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and a store in the City of London’s Royal Exchange. There are also shops-in-shops and wholesale clients worldwide in markets such as Hong Kong, Dubai, Barbados and the Maldives. Fennell also has a private client base in the U.S.

The company said business continues to be good; sales have increased 13 percent year-on-year in the post-Christmas season.