Net-a-Porter's founder Natalie Massenet quits online retailer

Ms Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of
Ms Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of NET-A-PORTER.COM

(Bloomberg)- Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet, who was to be chairman of the combined company after a planned merger with Italian rival Yoox Spa, resigned from the online fashion retailer. 

Ms Massenet tendered her resignation after returning from a vacation, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said before Yoox confirmed her departure in a statement. She leaves with more than 100 million pounds (S$217 million) after selling shares in Net-a-Porter, the person said.

Ms Massenet resigned as executive chairman of Net-a-Porter and would not be on the board of the combined company, Yoox said. 

A spokeswoman for Net-a-Porter did not return a call seeking comment. Massenet’s representative also did not immediately reply to a call and an e-mail, and Massenet did not immediately reply to an e-mail sent to her over LinkedIn. 

Yoox agreed to buy Net-a-Porter from Cie. Financiere Richemont SA in March. The all-stock deal, which is expected to close this month, will create the world’s largest online luxury- goods retailer.

Ms Massenet was to be chairman of the combined entity and Yoox founder Federico Marchetti, its chief executive officer.  When the merger was announced, Citigroup Inc. analyst Mauro Baragiola said Ms Massenet could help strengthen the merged company’s ties with the luxury industry.

Yet Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca questioned whether it made sense for her to stay as her responsibilities were to be limited to areas such as editorial content and advertising strategy. 

Speaking with Bloomberg Television in July, Massenet hinted she would stay. “We’ve only just begun,” Ms Massenet said at the time.

After the merger “we’re going to be the same, but bigger,” she said. And in March, Mr Marchetti called her appointment as chairman “a long-term partnership.” The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday cleared the path for the union, saying it will not refer the proposed deal for further scrutiny. 

Ms Massenet’s resignation comes in the same week LVMH named former Beats Music CEO and Apple Inc. director Ian Rogers as its chief digital officer in a bid to accelerate its efforts online.