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Reiss to appoint Next CEO Simon Wolfson as chair

By Huw Hughes

May 21, 2021

People

Image: Reiss

Next CEO Simon Wolfson is reportedly set to become the chair of Reiss after the high street retailer snapped up a 25 percent stake in the upmarket brand earlier this year.

Wolfson, who has been at the helm of Next since 2001, will replace Reiss founder and current chair David Reiss, The Telegraph reports.

It comes after Next bought a 25 percent stake in Reiss back in March.

Upon completion of the deal, Next will make an equity investment of 33 million pounds and a debt investment of 10 million pounds, financed from its own cash resources.

Next will then have the option to acquire an additional 26 percent interest at pre-agreed terms which would take Next’s holding to 51 percent. The option falls away after July 2022.

As part of the deal, the Reiss websites and online operations will be contracted to Next through Next's Total Platform, which will provide warehousing and distribution services for Reiss's retail, franchise, wholesale and concession businesses.

“The intention is that Next's infrastructure - its online systems, warehousing, distribution assets and sourcing base - can serve as a launchpad for Reiss's growth plans, both in the UK and overseas,” Next previously said in a release.

Reiss is expected to go live on Next's Total Platform in February 2022.

Reiss to retain ‘creative independence’

Christos Angelides, who was appointed CEO of Reiss in 2017, will remain at the helm of the company. He previously spent 28 years at Next, 14 of which he was on the company’s board as group product director.

Next stressed that Reiss would retain its “management autonomy and creative independence” and will have its own independent board of directors and continue to be headquartered in London.

While Reiss hasn’t shared financial information about its performance during the pandemic, it was doing well pre-Covid. In the year to February 1, 2020, it reported a 22 percent increase in turnover to 227.4 million pounds.

Reiss was founded in 1971 by David Reiss, originally as a menswear brand, before branching out into womenswear, which it now focuses on.

In May 2016, US private equity firm Warburg Pincus acquired a majority stake in the business, with the Reiss family retaining a minority holding.

Today, the business operates in 14 countries from 79 stores, 104 concessions and via wholesale and franchises.