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Clarks appoints new Chief Information Officer from La Perla

Camilla Rydzek
09 February 2022

Footwear brand Clarks has appointed Simon Clarke as its new Chief Information Officer. He joins from La Perla where he also served as CIO for two years. 

In his role at La Perla Clarke was responsible for leading the brand's digital transformation, overseeing a portfolio of transformation projects and implementing a digital showroom to replace physical showroom.

Clarke previously held the position of Group Supply Chain Director at Oxford University Press and before that was Supply Chain and IT Director at Enotria Winecellars.

The appointment of Clarke follows a mass exodus of the retailer's leadership team after it was acquired by private equity firm LionRock Capital in late 2020 for £100 million. Chief Executive Giorgio Presca, Chief Commercial Officer Massimo Barzaghi and Chief People Officer Difna Blamey left the brand last year.

LionRock Capital appointed former Guess boss Victor Herrero as Clarks' Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, however Herrero stepped down from his role after nine months in November 2021. Clarks is currently looking to fill the vacant position with Clarks chair Johnny Chen, who is also vice-chair of LionRock, running the business on an interim basis until it finds a permanent replacement.

The brand is rebuilding its leadership team at a when it has reported significant losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in its annual report for the financial year ending 30 January 2021. Turnover fell by over £600 million from £137 billion in 2019/20 to £755 million in 2020/21. Underlying operating profits also fell from £46.2 million in 2019/2020 to a loss of £70.9 million in 2020/2021.

The annual report said: "The impact of COVID-19 in the year was immediate given that reduced demand coincided with the commencement of our SS season and the new inventory resulted in a significant working capital impact which continues in 2021."

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