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STOCKHOLM: H&M has announced its 72-year old chairman, Stefan Persson, is to step down as head of the fashion retailer and hand over the reins to present CEO, his son Karl-Johan Persson. The move coincided with H&M’s annual results with saw net sales increase by 11 per cent during 2019. Helena Helmersson will succeed Karl-Johan as CEO.

Said Stefan Persson: “It is a natural change, after 20 years as chairman, to hand over to Karl-Johan, who has been CEO for more than 10 years. I will continue to be a committed owner, just as today, but from a different position. In addition, the timing is favourable for making this change now since we have gradually improved profits and have a strong position with many well-established brands, millions of customers worldwide and good financial strength.

“Karl-Johan and the team have done an amazing job to secure the future of the H&M group. I am fully convinced that he will do an excellent job also as Chairman of the Board. I believe strongly in Helena, who with her long and solid background within the H&M group, now takes over as CEO,” says Stefan Persson.

Helena Helmersson, who becomes new CEO, started at H&M in 1997 as an economist at H&M’s buying department and thereafter held various roles within buying and production. Helena was sustainability manager for five years and after that production manager based in Hong Kong. For just over a year she has been COO (Chief Operating Officer) with responsibility for expansion, logistics, production, IT, Advanced analytics and AI and Insights and Analytics.

”I am very incentivised and humble ahead of the task. I look forward to driving the plan forward together with my colleagues, with a focus on the customer to continue strengthening our financial development in the short and long term. There is great potential to expand with existing and new brands, with new types of partnerships and to continue leading the development towards a sustainable fashion industry,” said Helmersson.

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