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Baugur, Shepherdson Join Forces at Whistles

Former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson named chief executive at British high street chain owned by Baugur; mulls expansion into U.S.

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LONDON Two London retail powerhouses have joined to rejuvenate a British high street brand.

 

Jane Shepherdson, formerly brand director at Topshop, has been named chief executive of the Baugur-owned Whistles fashion chain. It is the first major post Shepherdson has taken on since quitting Topshop in the autumn of 2006.

 

In addition to her role as chief executive, Shepherdson and her management team will become part owner of Whistles, together with Baugur, the second-largest investor in Saks Fifth Avenue, and Iceland's Glitnir Bank.

 

Baugur already owned Whistles via its holding company Mosaic Fashions. Through a management buy-in deal with Shepherdson and her team, Baugur has spun off Whistles into a separate company. However, it remains the lead shareholder.

 

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

   

In a telephone interview with WWD on Monday, Shepherdson said she wants to make Whistles “the most exciting place” on the British high street in terms of collections, service, merchandising and design. Asked if she’d take the brand to the U.S., she said: “Absolutely. There is no reason why Whistles should not be there.”

 

For complete coverage, see Tuesday's issue of WWD.