Holt Renfrew replaces president with Canadian Tire exec

Holt Renfrew replaces president with Canadian Tire exec

The Bloor Street Holt Renfrew flagship (Photo by Mike Manalang)

What do high-end fashion and auto parts have in common? Mark Derbyshire. The man who was once a marketing whiz for Canadian Tire is the new president of Holt Renfrew, Canada’s biggest luxury retailer. Derbyshire has been with Wittington Fashion Retail Group, Holts’ parent company, for six years as the head of human resources. He replaces outgoing president Caryn Lerner, a veteran of the fashion industry (including stints at Prada and Gucci) who held the position for five years. Lerner will continue as an independent consultant to Wittington.

The sudden announcement has prompted speculation about the company’s profitability in 2009. “I don’t think their results have been spectacular,” retail consultant Maureen Atkinson told the Star. “I think that’s been an issue and a challenge. I don’t think it’s her. I think it is what it is. The economy. I think there’s a whole bunch of reasons why they’re not really doing well.” But the retailer denies rumours of bad performance in 2009 and gave no reason for Lerner’s untimely sacking.

So far, no other staff or direction changes have been announced, and there is no word on the development of Holt Renfrew money. Stay tuned for further updates.

Changes at the top for Holts [Globe and Mail]
Holt Renfrew pulls presidential switch [Toronto Star]