Manju Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer at Harvey Nichols

Source: Harvey Nichols

Malhotra was promoted to CEO in January 2020, and led the chain through the covid-19 pandemic.

Harvey Nichols CEO Manju Malhotra is to step down from the luxury department store chain.

Malhotra, who has been in charge for just over three years, will remain at the business until the end of December. Pearson Poon, a non-executive director, has been promoted to vice chairman and will lead the company while it searches for a replacement for Malhotra.

Malhotra has spent the past 25 years with the 192-year-old retailer, first joining as a chartered accountant in 1998. She progressed up the ranks to positions including CFO and was appointed co-chief operating officer in 2018. She was made CEO in January 2020.

“I have had the most amazing 25 years at Harvey Nichols, starting from a member of the finance team to becoming CEO,” said Malhotra. “I have been fortunate to work with many wonderfully talented people and partners both in the UK and internationally.

“Together, we have galvanised Harvey Nichols, leveraging its position in the market as a luxury destination delivering exceptional in-store and digital customer experiences.”

Harvey Nichols chairman Dickson Poon said: “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Manju for her loyalty over the years and leadership since becoming CEO. Manju has been instrumental in driving the business through unprecedented times and laid out strong foundations which we will continue to build on for the future.”

Vice chairman Pearson Poon said: “I had the pleasure of working with Manju over the years where she always demonstrated great commitment towards the brand, I would like to wish her all the best in her new endeavours. As I assume my new role, I look forward to working closely with our people, brands and partners to navigate this next chapter.”

Like other traditional department stores, the chain saw its operations decimated by the covid-19 lockdowns, which led to the closure of its seven UK stores and standalone restaurant.

The business has been slow to recover, though latest accounts, published to Companies House in July showed that losses had narrowed, falling from £38.7m to £31.8m during the year to April 2022.

Revenues grew 58% to £191.6m, which the chain credited to an increase in shoppers returning to stores as well as the growth of its online business.

Malhotra had been overseeing an expansion of the retailer’s food and hospitality offering, and hired former Fortnum & Mason director Lucy Menendez as the chain’s first hospitality and beverage director in March 2023.