Adrian Ward Rees, most recently director of men’s wear at Burberry, has joined Ben Sherman Group as senior vice president of merchandising and commercial director, a new post.

This story first appeared in the August 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Rees reports to Pan Philippou, chief executive officer of Ben Sherman. Prior to his tenure at Burberry, he worked at Nike, Adidas and Speedo.

“This appointment is an important step in our efforts to reposition the Ben Sherman brand,” Philippou told WWD. “Adrian will have sales managers across the globe reporting to him and will help to make sure that our collections are tight and salable.”

He will work from Ben Sherman’s London offices.

Atlanta-based Oxford Industries Inc. acquired Ben Sherman in 2004 and has endeavored, so far without success, to put it on the same kind of profitable lifestyle brand trajectory as its Tommy Bahama label and the more recently acquired Lilly Pulitzer. Since Philippou’s move to the company’s top spot in January 2010, Ben Sherman has limited its exposure in more promotional department stores; abandoned its footwear, kids’ and women’s operations, and lightened its retail portfolio by closing weaker stores in the U.S., China and Hong Kong. There are currently 20 Ben Sherman stores globally.

In 2010, the brand’s sales were down 15 percent to $86.9 million while operating losses were reduced by more than two-thirds to $2.7 million from $8.6 million in the prior year, according to the parent firm’s annual report. Oxford projected midsingle-digit sales increases for Ben Sherman in 2011, but first-quarter revenues were off 12.3 percent, to $19.4 million, while it posted an operating loss of $826,000 versus operating income of $522,000 in the first quarter of 2010. Exited businesses contributed to the sales shortfall, the company said, and lower revenues caused a “deleveraging effect on the existing cost structure.”

Oxford is scheduled to report second-quarter financial results Wednesday.

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