We live in a world of power conspiracies. Everybody knows it, even though we never hear from them. Today I’m going to tell you a story about one of the biggest plots of 2015 in the Fashion Business… even bigger than the creative direction replacement at Gucci.
On March 31 two of the biggest online fashion retailers YOOX and Net-A-Porter announced their merge. The transaction would create the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group, expected to deliver €60million annual run rate synergies by the third full year following completion.
YOOX Created e-commerce for brands like Valentino and Armani
NAP, The most popular Luxury retailer with 2million followers
Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of YOOX (Italy’s biggest e-tailer) would remain the CEO of the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group, while Natalie Massenet, founder and Executive Chairman of Net-A-Porter (Most important e-tailer for luxury Brands) would occupy a 2nd place as Executive Chairman of the Group with defined responsibilities.
A big giant is coming, all official information so far.
Nevertheless, on September the 2nd, Massenet resigned from Net-A-Porter, the business she founded 15 years ago, leaving Marchetti as the only person in charge of the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group. A 50 years old Natalie declared that it was time for new ideas and projects, “My entrepreneurial drive is as strong today as it always has been, and my passion for innovation will continue to be my greatest guide in business”.
Would you leave your baby company after working hard for 15 years to grow it just because you have an adventure spirit? In my opinion, Marchetti and his entourage – Included Richemont who now owns 50% of the Group shares – have been pressuring the situation in order to hold power of today´s biggest e-tailer.
Is this just a speculation? On October the 5th the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group starts trading at Milano’s stock exchange and Marchetti names Alison Lohenis, former Net-a-Porter President, president of the Net-a-Porter Group. She will report directly to him. The promotion actually sounds like Marchetti’s way of replacing Massenet, albeit with a less powerful role than Massenet would have held.
It’s true that Natalie Massenet left with €100 millions after selling her shares, and that the company was living its best moment, so we could think that she just retired a bit early. But the reality is that Marchetti reiterated in petit comité his absolute control over the Group as well as the pair’s strikingly different managerial styles. In addition, close people from Massenet said that she would have resigned before Christmas.
It was everything planned since the beginning: YOOX Net-A-Porter Group had just one seat in the kingdom and neither Marchetti or Richemont thought about a place for Massenet.