JAMES POW EXITS AQUASCUTUM; FELLOWS NAMED ACTING DIRECTOR
Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — James Pow has resigned as managing director of Aquascutum, Ltd., and David Fellows has been named acting managing director until a replacement can be found. Fellows continues as financial director.
Aquascutum declined to give details of Pow’s resignation, and he could not be reached for comment.
Pow was appointed as managing director in November 1993 with a brief from Aquascutum’s parent, Renown of Japan, to turn around the struggling retailer of traditional English men’s and women’s wear. Pow slashed the number of pieces in the collections, pulled out of manufacturing, signed new licensing agreements worldwide, hired new creative and design teams, pushed Aquascutum more heavily into accessories, revitalized its classic look with brighter colors and looser shapes and tightened its distribution to make the label more exclusive.
He also focused expansion of the company’s retail operations on the Far East, where the luxury goods market is growing the fastest.
But the changes coincided with Renown’s hitting financial problems in Japan because of the weakening economy there. Industry observers have been saying for the last year that Renown was eager to pump up Aquascutum’s distribution to generate some much-needed cash for the parent company, while Pow wanted to retain limited distribution to build a stronger brand image. They speculated that the differing strategies may have led to his resignation.
There have been reports for several months that Renown may be looking to sell Aquascutum to raise cash, with a logical buyer being its competitor Burberrys, owned by the cash-rich Great Universal Stores PLC.