LONDON — Jack Wills has promoted its chief operating officer, Wendy Becker, to the post of chief executive officer.
Becker replaces the British brand’s cofounder Peter Williams as ceo. Williams will remain at the company as a shareholder and non-executive director.
Williams said Wednesday he would remain “on hand” to support Becker and the team while having more time to dedicate to charitable and investment interests.
“I’ve been waiting for the right moment to hand on the baton to the team that can take us to the next level. I am [pleased] that Wendy has agreed to lead the business,” said Williams. “We have a clear, three-year strategy which identifies further growth for our very strong brand.”
A source close to the company said the management change reflected Jack Wills’ evolution as a business, and the formalization of a management structure that was already in place.
Over the past year, Jack Wills has installed SAP systems to monitor supply chain and expanded into new international markets including the Middle East.
It has hired new chief financial and marketing officers and consolidated the Aubin & Wills brand — aimed at younger customers entering the workforce — into Jack Wills, and will focus on a one-brand strategy.
Becker joined Jack Wills as chief operating officer in September 2012. She was previously group chief marketing officer at Vodafone and managing director of the telecom and Internet provider TalkTalk.
She was a partner at McKinsey & Company where she led its consumer practice, and is also a non-executive director of Whitbread, owner of brands that include Premier Inn and Costa Coffee.
“Everyone at Jack Wills owes a huge amount to Pete,” she said. “His counsel as a non-executive director and major shareholder will be invaluable to me and the rest of the team.”
The brand has 81 stores worldwide, 59 in the U.K. and Ireland, 15 in the U.S., four in the Middle East and three in Hong Kong, a mix of franchises and wholly owned units.