LONDON – Harrods is relying on insiders to nurture the business in challenging times.
On Monday, the company revealed that longtime staffer Helen David has been promoted to chief merchant at Harrods.
David joined Harrods in 2008, and has overseen projects including Shoe Heaven, Superbrands, Mini Superbrands and the refurbishment of the Fine Jewellery rooms.
She steps into the role that was most recently held by Marigay McKee, who left the store in 2013 to become president of Saks Fifth Avenue. McKee has since left Saks and runs her own company, MM Luxe Consulting.
David was previously fashion director of women’s wear, accessories, fine jewelry and children’s wear, overseeing buying teams responsible for more than two-thirds of the store.
A former banker, David originally joined Harrods as a buyer, having previously worked at Net-a-porter.com and at Saks Fifth Avenue. She is a graduate of Tufts University.
“We are delighted and proud to have Helen leading the future merchandise strategy for our business,” said Michael Ward, Harrods’ managing director. David will continue to report to Ward.
In 2013, David was promoted to her most recent role alongside Jason Broderick, who became fashion director of men’s wear, sports and watches. Before that promotion, David was Harrods’ general merchandise manager of women’s wear and fine jewelry.
Separately, Ward has confirmed that he will be staying on as managing director of Harrods indefinitely, after revealing plans to step down earlier this year.
“Due to changes in the U.K.’s current and future economic landscape, we need to ensure that Harrods continues to thrive and remains ahead of the competition,” he told WWD.
“To make certain that we continue to deliver growth and see the value of our most important investments come to fruition…I will be staying on as leader of the business and will be working with the leadership team to outline a clear plan for Harrods for the next few years.”
Earlier this year, Ward was named chairman of Walpole, the alliance of British luxury brands, including Aston Martin, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Mulberry and Redman Whiteley Dixon.
He is also serving his second term as president of the ECCIA, the European Creative and Cultural Industries Alliance, and is a longtime advocate for loosening restrictions on foreign entry visas to promote tourism in the U.K.