LONDON, United Kingdom — Philip Green has lost two top lieutenants from Arcadia Group Ltd. as the billionaire works to stave off the collapse of his shopping empire.
Jamie Drummond Smith, appointed interim chairman in April to help with Arcadia’s restructuring, stepped down last week, according to a company filing on Wednesday. Chief Operating Officer David Shepherd, who had been at the group for more than 25 years, took early retirement on the same day.
The departures came shortly before the Sunday Times reported that Green is preparing to separate the group’s brands, which include Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, in preparation to sell some off. Last week, Arcadia began implementing its restructuring plan, a move to scale back stores and reduce rents.
“Jamie was appointed on an interim basis to assist the board through the restructuring options for the group,” Ian Grabiner, Arcadia’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. With that process complete, Smith stepped down, he said.
The retailer employs 18,000 people globally and has about 560 stores in the UK and Ireland. Its brands have struggled to keep up with the rapid shift to e-commerce and rising competitors Boohoo and Asos. Arcadia’s Australian business fell into administration two years ago and the company has closed all 11 of its Topshop and Topman stores in the US.
Green, once dubbed king of the high street, has also seen his personal wealth take a hit. His $6.6 billion fortune has fallen to $1.3 billion over the past six years, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
By Ellen Milligan; editors: Eric Pfanner and John Lauerman.