May 25, 2018
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New boss at Cath Kidston as American Melinda Paraie moves to London

May 25, 2018

After news that its CEO has been poached by Dr Martens, textiles-to-fashion-to-homewares company Cath Kidston has quickly found a replacement with American Melinda Paraie to join the British company next month.

Cath Kidston

Having most recently worked at New York-based jeweller John Hardy, she will join before outgoing CEO Kenny Wilson leaves in order for the two to work together during a handover period.

The news hasn't been officially announced yet but was reported in the Times on Friday.

The company, best known for it floral prints, has chosen an executive with plenty of experience. Prior to John Hardy, she was at coach for 10 years where she was senior vice-president for merchandising in North America. But she has even wider experience of the American retail market with stints at J Crew, Gap, Barneys New York and Express.

However, it could be that it was a short period spent working for the Cath Kidston brand last year that clinched the deal so quickly. 

Chairman William Flanz said that her time at the company in 2017 was part of a consulting project “and made such a positive and lasting impression on the team that we knew she offered something very special, which fitted the brand in a very unique way. Melinda creates consumer-centric models, and builds brands that fully integrate product development, marketing, stores and digital, bringing life and energy to the customer experience.”

She will now relocate to London where she will work alongside Flanz and non-executive director Marty Wikstrom.

The incoming CEO said the brand has “a fantastic growth story… a wonderfully light-hearted charm and modern appeal, and its cheerful story resonates with existing and new customers.”

And she added that “as an American, I love the uniquely British characteristics of the brand which has worked so well in international markets and I am ready to now enhance the emotional connection which the brand has with its customers.”

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