May 10, 2018
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Farfetch strategy head Stephanie Phair is new BFC Chair

May 10, 2018

The British Fashion Council has a new Chair with Farfetch’s Chief Strategy Officer Stephanie Phair stepping into the role, while also staying on at the luxury e-tailer.

Stephanie Phair is the new BFC Chair - DR

It continues the BFC tradition of looking to the upscale online retail sector for its most high-profile roles with Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet having also been one of the organisation’s most memorable Chairs in recent periods.

The BFC said Phair’s appointment will be formalised at the July 5 board meeting but with key meetings starting as early as June. Her tenure is for an initial three years, with the option to renew. 

Her role at the BFC will focus on governance, “ensuring the organisation is able to lead the sector in a changing industry and economic environment; supporting CEO [Caroline Rush] in the delivery of the organisation’s strategy; developing relationships with sponsors and industry patrons and building the profile of British fashion globally.”

Rush said of Phair’s appointment: “[It] was driven by her reputation as a strategic thinker, a broad view of the sector, and her propensity to challenge the norms to create new opportunities for growth.”

Phair is a well respected exec who has worked at a number of game-changing businesses during her career. She has been in her job at Farfetch since November 2016 and is responsible for leading its global strategic direction, innovation, M&A and corporate development. Prior to this was founding head of TheOutnet.com. She started in e-tail 13 years ago with Portero, but her fashion career began earlier in New York City with roles in communications, marketing and business development at Siren PR, Issey Miyake and American Vogue.

And that Vogue experience brings her almost full circle as she worked on initiatives such as the launch of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund and the annual Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala. That will stand her in good stead as she deals with BFC events such as the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund and also The Fashion Awards, as well as the women’s and men’s London Fashion Weeks.

Natalie Massenet stepped down as BFC Chair last December, following a successful five-year term in which she led the organisation to focus its activities through strategic pillars, engage in digital innovation and focus on building the global profile for British fashion. 

Since then, a specialist executive search firm has been looking for her replacement, with input in the search from Anya Hindmarch, Dylan Jones and Caroline Rush. But they may not have had that far to look. Phair is likely to have been the standout candidate and is well known to Massenet, both from her Outnet days and given that Massenet joined Farfetch a year ago as Co-Chairman.

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