LONDON — Mark Sebba, the former chief executive officer of Net-a-porter and a champion of entrepreneurs, has died aged 69, according to a family spokesman. The cause of death was a heart attack, which Sebba suffered Monday at his home in Crete in Greece.
Sebba served as ceo of Net-a-porter from 2003 until 2014, having previously worked as the company’s chief operating officer. Net’s founder and former chairman Natalie Massenet and the team famously marked his retirement with a video that declared Sebba the most loved ceo in the world. The video currently has nearly 1.3 million views on YouTube.
At the time, Massenet called Sebba her “greatest ally” and a “true partner.” She described him as “a man of incredible integrity, wisdom and strength. Not only has he grown our business exponentially and healthily and guided us through our sale to Richemont — he has also brought calm and confidence to the core of our group.”
On Sebba’s watch, Net-a-porter launched businesses including The Outnet, Mr Porter and the in-house clothing label Iris & Ink. It acquired Shouke to take Net-a-porter Group into Asia and China, and launched the first retailing app for the iPhone in 2009 and the first fashion magazine for tablets.
Compagnie Financière Richemont, a longtime shareholder, took control of Net in 2010. The company is now known as Yoox Net-a-porter and is wholly owned by Richemont.
After retiring, Sebba set about supporting other entrepreneurial businesses, and became chairman of the fresh flowers supplier Flowerbx, an adviser to the board of plus-size e-commerce brand Eloquii and a board member at tech investment bank GP Bullhound.
“Mark was one-of-a-kind; the most terrific man and a true leader in every sense of the word,” said Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, ceo and cofounder of Flowerbx. “He guided me and the team at Flowerbx with integrity, discipline and grace. He was always fair. When Mark spoke, we listened and it was a privilege to know him, work with him and count him as a mentor, an ally and a friend. My heart is broken for his family, for me and for the world who has lost a truly magnificent man.”
Sebba was also a non-executive director at LMS Capital plc, a private equity firm, a trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum and chairman of its commercial arm, V&A Enterprises. Since 2014, he also served as group board chairman of Hyde Housing Association, which provides financially accessible housing in the southeast of England.
He began his career as an investment banker in London and New York before moving into finance director roles in early stage media and new technology businesses. He is survived by his wife, the author, biographer and historian Anne Sebba, by their three children Adam, Amy and Imogen and by their five grandchildren.