Farfetch has confirmed in social media posts and in a statement this afternoon that Dame Natalie Massenet will be joning the business as non-executive co-chairman.
In teaser posts on social media this afternoon @Farfetch said: “It’s official Dame Natalie Massenet joins @Farfetch_Jose [Farfetch’s founder José Neves] to shape the future of luxury – together.” Posts refer to an Instagram story that will run at 5pm on 28 February that promises a Q&A with Massenet and Neves. Massenet, who is also chair of the British Fashion Council, was linked with a role at Farfetch before Christmas.
A subsequent statement was released to press which stated that Massenet’s role would have “a particular focus on growing the global brand and strengthening its partnerships with the fashion industry”. It went on to say that Massenet and Neves had a “shared strategic vision” of how fashion and technology can work together to amplify the customer experience.
Neves described Massenet as “THE undisputed pioneer” in online luxury fashion (she founded Net-A-Porter in 2000). “Natalie has unrivalled entrepreneurial instinct, understanding of the luxury consumer and knows how to build global brands like no one else,” he said. “It is simply a dream come true to have Natalie partner with me, with a shared vision and tremendous will to – yet again – shape the future of luxury.”
Massenet said she was “honoured” to partnering with Neves and Farfetch. “What Farfetch has done to rewrite the rulebook on how technology can work alongside bricks and mortar to elevate the customer experience stands out in the industry – when José asked me to come on board it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. José is a true innovator, and I am thrilled to join him as he grows Farfetch into the online platform of choice for luxury fashion,” she said.
Farfetch, which Neves founded as a platform to unite the world’s best fashion boutiques in 2008, has been scooping up former Net-A-Porter senior staff since Massenet departed the business in September 2015 following its merger with Italian group Yoox. Former Net-A-Porter buying director Holly Rogers is now chief executive of Farfech-owned Browns and Stephanie Phair, former president of The Outnet, is now Farfetch’s chief strategy officer.
Farfetch is now a so-called “unicorn business” – a start-up with a valuation in excess of $1bn. It now partners directly with 750 designers and boutiques in 40 countries and sells to more than 1m customers in 190 countries. As well as its main platform it also owns iconic London boutique Browns, which is acquired in 2015 and is being used as a test-bed for its Store of the Future concept, and Farfetch Black & White, a white label division which runs the ecommerce arms of brands such a Manolo Blahnik and Christopher Kane.