By  on January 25, 2005

NEW YORK — Holt Renfrew’s top women’s merchant, Evelyn Reynolds, has left the company.

Reynolds was senior vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s wear, and a 12-year veteran of the Toronto-based Holt Renfrew & Co.

It’s the second big personnel change for Canada’s top luxury specialty chain since September, when Caryn Lerner was tapped as president. Lerner, a former Escada executive in the U.S., succeeded Andrew Jennings, who is currently Saks Fifth Avenue’s president and chief operating officer.

In disclosing Reynolds’ departure last week, Janet Eger, director of communications for the store, said a search for Reynolds’ successor, including candidates from both inside and outside the company, would soon start. She would not say whether Reynolds resigned of her own accord or was asked to leave the company.

“We are deeply appreciative of Evelyn’s contributions,” Eger said. “Employee matters are confidential. She was a valued member of Holt Renfrew.”

Reynolds joined Holt Renfrew in 1993 as merchandise manager for coats, suits and dresses, and in early 2002 was appointed to head up all women’s wear. Prior to Holt Renfrew, Reynolds was a senior buyer with Marks & Spencer in the U.K. Earlier in her career, she worked as a merchant at two other chains, Liz Porter and Mr. Leonard.

The $250 million Holt Renfrew currently operates nine retail units and two clearance centers across Canada, but there has been speculation that W. Galen Weston, chairman of Holt Renfrew, wants to take the store international. The company has been elevating its assortment to attract a broader international audience seeking luxury goods, and to develop a more youthful appeal.

Holt Renfrew is part of Wittington Investments, which is controlled by Weston and also includes Selfridges and Brown Thomas.  

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