After a storied career at Lane Crawford and Pedder Group, Peter Harris is stepping down after more than 25 years.
His last day as president of Pedder Group, the Hong-Kong-based retail group he built into a luxury footwear powerhouse across Asia, is May 17. Harris plans to relocate to Shanghai.
“He has been the go-to for designer footwear brands with ambitions in this region, and his 19-year partnership with Christian Louboutin is not simply a success story but a love story — one of passion for a brand and a commitment to its founder,” said Jennifer Woo, chairman of The Lane Crawford Joyce Group.
Harris arrived at the company in the early 1990s. He had been working in accessories product development in Florence, Italy, when the Lane Crawford Joyce Group asked him to oversee ladies’ footwear and accessories in the company’s department stores. Harris moved to its headquarters in Hong Kong in 1993. “There’s a pulsating energy and a can-do culture [in Hong Kong] that’s hard to find elsewhere,” he said in 2018, when he was inducted into FN’s Hall of Fame. “It’s a constant source of inspiration.”
Ten years later, the shoe division was spun into an independent firm, Pedder Group, with Harris as president and co-founding member. Under his lead, it has launched two retail concepts — On Pedder and Pedder Red — and brought many of the industry’s biggest names to China and Southeast Asia.
Focusing on the customer’s experience has been one of Harris’ main successes. Both Pedder Group and Lane Crawford are known for elevating store retail through highly curated displays, personalized service and beautiful store environments.
“Environment is such an important element of the shopping experience,” he said in 2018. “So is curation, sourcing, editing.”
Woo noted that the company’s leaders — including Blondie Tsang, president of Lane Crawford and Joyce, and Alice Wong, president of Imaginex — spent their formative years working with Harris and helping to establish Pedder Group. And even Woo worked under Harris during her first job in retail.
“I [was a] merchandise coordinator for Peter, who impressed upon me the delicate balance of art and science that is the success formula of our business,” she said. “I am grateful to Peter for being my teacher, my partner and my friend. He has dedicated himself to this business for three decades, always pushing forward, always striving to do better. Above all, Peter is one of the most loyal, thoughtful, generous, funny and fun-loving people I have had the pleasure to know, let alone learn from and work with, and he will be greatly missed.”
Woo will take the reins at Pedder Group, and Harris will stay on to advise her until after he moves to Shanghai.