Gildersleeve, who is chairman of Carphone Warehouse, has a wealth of retail and business experience. He was formerly commercial and trading director at Tesco, chairman of the Gallagher Group and deputy non-executive of EMI. He is also a non-executive director at British Land.
Figleaves chief executive Julia Reynolds said hiring someone of Gildersleeve’s calibre was a coup for the e-tailer.
“John has over 40 years of experience in the retail sector, which will be a huge asset to the business as we increase the rate of our expansion,” she said.
“The new team is passionate about the Figleaves brand and committed to delivering high growth.”
Since joining the business at the start of this year Reynolds, who was also previously at Tesco, has brought in a raft of high level managers. These include chief financial officer Deborah Wood, who moved from Waterstone’s, and marketing director Louise English, who had previously held roles at Sainsbury’s, Boots and Tesco. She also drafted in merchandising director Mel Cottrell from Tesco.
Next year, Figleaves will relaunch its web site, in which it is reported to have invested a seven-figure sum. The e-tailer aims to make the site easier to use and will offer products in euros. It is also mooting launching the site in other languages to appeal to a broader and international customer base.
Figleaves launched a separate clearance site offering up to 70 per cent off selected brands in June.
Reynolds also said she is exploring the possibility of moving into new product areas such as homewares and toiletries.
Figleaves made a loss of£4.2 million in the year to July 2006, but Reynolds has said the company is back in the black and hopes to hit sales of£30 million this year.