Monsoon Accessorize on the hunt for new chief executive.

Monsoon Accessorize is on the hunt for a new group chief executive as managing director Peter Ridler is set to leave the business.

The new chief executive will help “breathe new life” into the Monsoon fascia and continue with the group’s international roll-out, particularly with the Accessorize brand.

Ridler, who is group managing director, is set to depart the business in July and will be replaced on an interim basis by Steve Back, currently chief commercial officer.

As part of the management reshuffle, executive director Nikki Hamwee role is set to change to focus fully on Accessorize’s development. The retailer is rapidly expanding overseas with 200 stores planned to open internationally this year.

It is understood that the group is looking for a candidate with a strong fashion retail background and experience of international markets. Headhunter MBS Group is undertaking the search.

Monsoon EBITDA before exceptionals dropped 11.7% to £121.4m in its full year to August 27, 2011 against revenue which was marginally ahead at £651m. Overseas sales rose 23.5% while sales in Britain and Ireland dropped by 4%.

Monsoon founder Peter Simon said: “This was a challenging year and trading was difficult. These are pleasing results given the economic conditions. While the UK retail market remains challenging, Monsoon is managing costs tightly and is, by necessity, reviewing its overall store portfolio to ensure it is properly configured to address today’s market.”

The group is now debt free, after paying off the £75.4m founder Simon borrowed when he took the business private three and a half years ago. The credit was repaid 18 months early.

Simon said: “The strength of the group’s balance sheet enables it to invest in the business further and look for possible opportunities elsewhere, whilst continuing to search for efficiencies whilst the outlook in the UK retail sector remains so gloomy.”


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