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Comings and goings are all the rage

Jessica Brown

The revolving door of fashion spun a revolution or two extra this week with an unprecedented number of high-profile departures and appointments, with senior management changes at River Island, LK Bennett, Asda, Reiss, Scotts, and Maharishi.

The revolving door of fashion spun a revolution or two extra this week with an unprecedented number of high-profile departures and appointments, with senior management changes at River Island, LK Bennett, Asda, Reiss, Scotts, and Maharishi.

The retirement of River Island chief executive Richard Bradbury perhaps came as the biggest shock. Working with River’s owners, the Lewis family, Bradbury joined the business more than 20 years ago, helping it through its transition from Chelsea Girl into one of today’s leading high street retailers. His knowledge of the customer is second to none and his ability to translate a trend for the River Island girl and lad about town at a price is a rare skill at chief executive level. Not only that, but Bradbury has helped push the boundaries of store design, rescuing the nation from white-box fatigue and giving shoppers one of the most exciting experiences on the high street, while influencing rivals into copycat shopfits.

He has sailed under the radar for much of his career, modest in his many achievements. His experienced successor, Ben Lewis, nephew of founder and chairman Bernard Lewis, will undoubtedly lead the business safely through its next developments following two years of succession planning.

Perhaps one of Bradbury’s most unique contributions though has been his unwavering support of Graduate Fashion Week. River Island has sponsored the event for six years with Bradbury leading the initiative, pushing the sector to do more to support its young talent and hiring hundreds of graduates to the unique design team he created. This is a Bradbury legacy I hope River will continue.

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