Darren Topp has been named CEO of fellow British fashion brand and retailer L.K. Bennett. Topp succeeds interim CEO Robert Bensoussan, who will stay on as a non-executive director. Bensoussan remains the brand’s shareholder of reference.
L.K. Bennett has also named Michael Hitchcock as chief financial officer. Hitchcock succeeds Alison Egan.
“Having been an investor in L.K.Bennett since 2008, and having spent the last two years as interim CEO, now is the right time for me to step back into a non-executive role,” said Bensoussan.
Topp, a 30-year veteran of British retail, has held senior positions at Marks and Spencer and was most recently CEO of BHS, which collapsed into administration earlier this year.
Sir Philip Green sold BHS last year for 1 pound, $1.33, to Dominic Chappell, an investor with no retail experience. The company remains under the spotlight because of the nature of the sale, and its gaping pension fund deficit, which Green has vowed to help fill.
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Topp, who had previously worked for BHS under Green and who helmed the retailer for barely a year under the new owners, gave evidence during a parliamentary hearing into its collapse. He accused BHS’s latest owner, the twice-bankrupt former race car driver Dominic Chappell, of misconduct and mismanagement.
Prior to joining BHS, Topp spent two decades at Marks and Spencer in a variety of leadership positions, including as divisional executive, head of human resources, and in regional and store manager roles.
Hitchcock has worked for companies including Beales and Moss Bros. Most recently, he was a financial consultant for BHS.
“Darren and Michael have an exceptionally strong retail background, and will be instrumental in driving the business through its next stage of development,” said Patrick Woodall, chairman of L.K. Bennett.