HR & Management

Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet quits firm following Yoox merger

4 min read

03 September 2015

Former deputy editor

Designer fashion website Net-a-Porter has lost its founder and chairwoman, Natalie Massenet, following a planned merger with Italian counterpart Yoox.

On 2 September, it was reported that British online fashion firm ASOS was losing its founder and CEO Nick Robertson after 15 years at the helm, though he would stay involved as a non-executive director.

The move saw COO and CFO Nick Beighton named his successor, while Helen Ashton joined as the replacement finance chief.

Brian McBride, chairman of ASOS, said: “On behalf of everyone who works at ASOS, I’d like to acknowledge Nick Robertson’s extraordinary achievement. His passion and vision have built a start-up into a world class company. We are all delighted that Nick will continue to contribute to the company that he started.”

Keeping the trend alive, Natalie Massenet, the founder of digital fashion company Net-a-Porter has also decided to depart the company she founded 15 years ago.

The surprise announcement comes after a planned merger of the business with out-of-season luxury fashion company Yoox. The union of the two firms was announced in April and is expected to be completed in October, marking the creation of “an online global fashion giant”.

She is said to have left following the sale of her shares in the company, which are worth around £100m, while rumours suggest that Massenet did not get on with Yoox’s founder Federico Marchetti, who will become CEO of the joint firm.

Read more on the fashion industry:

A brief statement from Yoox said: “Following Natalie Massenet’s tendering of
her resignation today as executive chairman of The-Net-A-Porter Group, Ms. Massenet will not be a member of the Board of Directors of the new Group, which will result from the upcoming merger.”

American entrepreneur Massenet, who is also the chairwoman of the British Fashion Council, created Net-a-Porter from her London flat back in 2000. The idea was to bring a digital magazine element to luxury fashion, one complete with the means to make purchases.

In related news, rival betting firms Paddy Power and Betfair are also planning a merger to forge “one of the world’s largest public online betting and gaming companies”. As a result, senior staff role changes are set to take place, so it will be interesting if similar unrest follows.

“The proposed merger with Paddy Power is hugely exciting. It would create a truly global sports betting group with unmatched products and talent, and significantly enhanced scale,” said Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran.

Of course, at the time of the merger announcement with Yoox, Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, the owner of Net-a-Porter, said: “Established business models are being increasingly disrupted by the technological giants.

“It is with this in mind that we believe it is important to increase leadership and size to protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry.”