Office CEO departs after one year in the role

Office Footwear retailer

Office CEO Lorenzo Moretti has departed from the footwear retail chain after just over a year in the role.

He will be replaced by chief operating officer Kerry van der Merwe, who has assumed the role of interim managing director with immediate effect.

Van der Merwe has been with Office’s South African parent for 14 years and took on her role at Office in 2016. Truworths acquired Office in a £250m deal in December 2015.

“I regret to announce the resignation of Lorenzo Moretti as chief executive officer and I would like to thank him for his invaluable contribution during his time at Office,” said Office chairman Michael Mark.

“Kerry has had an extraordinary track record with Office as leader of a diverse spread of business operations including finance, IT, HR and property.

“This broad responsibility has enabled her to actively participate in the development, implementation and successful execution of multiple business strategies.

“The business is in strong hands under Kerry and her senior team’s leadership and they will continue to drive significant improvement and growth initiatives in Office in close collaboration with the many brands with whom we partner.”

Moretti joined Office and its sports footwear sister chain Offspring as CEO Designate in October 2018 and was made CEO a month later. Prior to joining the company he was VP/GM retail at Sonos and before that held senior roles with Nike, Gap and Tesco.

His departures comes shortly after Office agreed a refinancing of its debts having secured an agreement with Standard Bank to receive a £32.5 million facility, which coupled with its £10.5 million in cash reserves, would clear its debts.

The company is now pressing ahead with a number of store closures as rents come up for renewal. It has indicated that it may close up to 15 of its 100 stores, along with some problematic concessions.