Today, non-executive director Jennifer Roebuck was chosen to cover the new role of chief customer officer, becoming the fourth woman on the board holding an executive position. Back in 2018, she was the only one among five men.
The scope is to drive innovation while keeping the customer at the heart, according to a spokesperson for the firm.
The company’s motto, as seen on the website, is “Would Ted do it that way?”.
Ted Baker is supposedly Kelvin’s alter ego, so that would be a question for him.
Though, with the elevation of Roebuck to the new role, it is a case of asking “Would Jennifer do it that way?”.
Before events blew up in 2017, the eccentric and camera-shy Kelvin told Retail Week the company did not need to create the role.
“I am the CCO along with thousands of other people who work here,” he was quoted as saying.
The job is now an essential one, not just at Ted Baker, but across the industry as clothiers focus on the ever-changing whims of the customer in the digital world of fast-fashion.
When it comes to Ted Baker, however, the appointment of Roebuck is only the beginning of a longer journey.
“I do not think it is really a panacea for Ted Baker’s problems which are manifold,” Patrick O’Brien, research director at GlobalData, told Proactive.
The challenge is to re-establish a connection with customers and change the perception of the brand.
Customers “are not boycotting the brand”, O’Brien reckons, but they may be “less inclined” to shop there.
While consumers are “well aware” of the accusations against Kelvin, they may not immediately hear of the changes in the board, he added.
There may be some reward as diversity bring benefits, as studies show.
Morgan Stanley said there is a positive linkage between the balance of men and women in the workforce and a stock’s performance.
“More gender diversity, particularly in corporate settings, can translate to increased productivity, greater innovation, better decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction,” the US investment bank said in 2016.
For the senior women at Ted Baker it has been a tough introduction. Rachel Osborne, appointed as chief financial officer last September, was left to deal with a £58mln accounting hole.
In December she was promoted as acting chief executive when Lindsay Page, Kelvin’s successor, resigned in the wake of a catastrophic profit warning following the accounting blunder.
RBC Capital Markets welcomed the change but felt the resignation of Page could pressure Osborne excessively.
In a note earlier this month, analysts urged for the vacancies to be filled to avoid “shortage of adequate experience in senior management”.
Ted Baker said today the search for a permanent chair and chief executive is “progressing well”.