Ward, who decided to step down in March, has been with the retailer for a little more than a decade.
“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,” Ward said. “Therefore, following discussions with our executive chairman, to make certain that we continue to deliver growth and see the value of our most important investments come to fruition, I am pleased to announce that 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.”
Ward, 59, was the executive who helped the store transition successfully to new ownership in 2010 after its longtime proprietor, Mohamed Al Fayed, sold it to Qatar Holding LLC, the investment company linked to the royal family of the Gulf state, for $2.22 billion.
During his tenure, he was instrumental in attracting and accommodating foreign customers from China, the Middle East and Africa, and was also known for his diplomatic and management skills. Ward was able to transform Harrods into a business that last year posted turnover of 769 million pounds, or $1.26 billion, and an after-tax profit of 115 million pounds, or $188.6 million. He worked to promote British creative talent and business in new markets.
Earlier this year, he was named chairman of Walpole, the alliance of British luxury brands that includes Aston Martin, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Mulberry.
Ward is also serving his second term as president of the ECCIA, the European Creative and Cultural Industries Alliance. The alliance is an umbrella organization for five national luxury groups including Walpole, Fondazione Altagamma and Comité Colbert.