Erica Vikauls named new LK Bennett CEO as Darren Topp steps down

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LK Bennett CEO

LK Bennett chief executive Darren Topp is stepping down from his position and will be replaced by former East boss Erica Vilkauls.

Vikauls was appointed interim chief executive of East in November, a position she held for less than two months as the fashion retailer fell into administration for the second time in less than three years in January.

Vikauls’ CV also includes a stint as chief operating officer at Thomas Pink.

Meanwhile, Topp took the helm of the LK Bennett in September 2016, just months after losing a similar job at BHS when it collapsed.

Once known as one of Sir Philip Green’s lieutenants, Topp was BHS‘s chief operating officer before his promotion to interim chief executive when the retailer was sold to Dominic Chappell‘s Retail Acquisitions group for £1 in March 2015.

He later turned against Chappell during the parliamentary inquiry into BHS’s collapse.

It is not yet known where Topp will be working next.

LK Bennett chairman Patrick Woodall said: “Darren has done an outstanding job and has achieved many of the objectives he set when he joined the business in 2016.

“He has built a firm platform for the business’ future growth and has seen the results of his efforts in an improved profitability in this financial year.

“Having discussed the next stage of the of the company’s journey with Darren earlier this year, we agreed that now would be the right time for Darren to move on to new challenges that he had in mind, with Erica in place as his successor.”

Vilkauls added: “I am looking forward to continuing the excellent work that Darren and the team have done over the past two years, at this exciting time for the brand.”

Topp said: “It has been a privilege to lead LK Bennett over this crucial time of transition for the business. I wish Erica and the team all the very best for the future and would like to thank Linda and Patrick for their support during my time as CEO.”

Since its first-ever store in Wimbledon, London in 1990, LK Bennett has grown to over 130 shops in more than 30 countries, as well as hundreds of concessions.

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