WWD.com/globe-news/fashion/links-of-london-founders-seeking-new-adventure-1902332/
government-trade
government-trade

Links of London Founders Seeking New Adventure

John Ayton and Annoushka Ducas are stepping down as chairman and creative director, respectively.

LONDON — Links of London founders John Ayton and Annoushka Ducas haven’t lost their entrepreneurial fire.

The two, who are leaving Links at the end of the month, have already begun investing in smaller brands and won’t be disappearing from the business or jewelry scene, Ayton said Tuesday.

Ayton and Ducas are stepping down as chairman and creative director, respectively, of Links. Last year, the two sold 100 percent of their business to Greek fashion jewelry company Folli Follie for $84 million. At the time of the sale in July 2006, Ayton said he was looking forward to an ongoing involvement with Folli Follie. “I feel rather excited,” said Ayton. “It’s new chapter for the brand.”

Clearly, things changed. On Tuesday, Ayton said the split with Links’ new investors was inevitable, but not acrimonious.

“Annoushka and I are entrepreneurs, and we’re not very good at working for other people,” he said. “Links has had a very good year, everything is going well, and I hope our investors will continue to nurture and look after it. It’s a much bigger company now. Our expertise is really in small, creative businesses not in the rollout of stores.”

Ayton said the two would be taking a breather after they step down, although they’ll be back in action soon.

“Annoushka has been designing jewelry for 17 years and she’s certainly not going to stop,” he said. “Also, we have been investing in some small brands, but not necessarily in the jewelry sector.”

Ayton declined further comment on the couple’s future plans, citing a non-compete clause that runs until January. He said Demetri Koutsolioutsos, who founded Folli Follie with his wife, Ketty, would take over as chairman of Links and that the company would be looking for a new creative director.

Folli Follie, which was founded in the early ’80s and specializes in fashion jewelry and accessories, is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.