Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massanet made waves in the fashion world yesterday when she announced she was stepping down from her role as executive chairman. The departure while eventually expected came as a surprise because of its timing, with the company still in the midst of the final stages of merging with Yoox, which purchased it in March. As well, Massanet as recently as July said in an interview she would stay on once the companies merged.
Massanet was never a fan of the merger and it is said she fought against it, but investment house and majority stake holder Richemont in the end went ahead with the deal. As a member of the merged companies, the plan was for Massanet to serve under Yoox founder, Federico Marchetti.
The U.S. born Massanet who founded Net-A-Porter in 2000, is viewed as an e-commerce pioneer, especially for the luxury category, which resisted online sales, viewing the platform as too accessible. While viewed as a big success, critics of the site have pointed out its struggles with profitability, blamed in part on too much spent on editorial content. Yoox is viewed as a bare bones operation so it’s likely some of Net-A-Porter’s extras will be pared down under new ownership.
Massanet while now a millionaire many times over appears not ready to retire just yet, stating in a departing note, “As for my own future, 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.” Already there is speculation she may land at Style.com, which is in the midst of its own transformation from online magazine to e-commerce site.