Clarks has confirmed the appointment of Giorgio Presca as its new chief executive, more than six months after its previous boss quit due to misconduct allegations, Retail Week can reveal.

Presca is set to be the family-owned shoe retailer’s third leader in four years.

Previous boss Mike Shearwood stood down from the business on June 25, 2018 following allegations of misconduct.

Presca will replace Stella David, who has held the chief executive role in an interim capacity since Shearwood left. She will return to her previous role as a non-executive director.

Giorgio_Presca Clarks CEO

Giorgio Presca has a ‘deep understanding of the footwear market’

A relatively unknown name in UK retail, Presca was most recently chief executive of Italian fashion label Golden Goose, between March 2017 and September 2018.

Prior to that, he was the chief executive of Italian footwear brand Geox for five years. He has also held senior leadership positions at Diesel, Citizens of Humanity, Levis Strauss & Co and Lotto.

Presca, who is expected to take up his new role in March, joins Clarks at a time when it has struggled to remain relevant: pre-tax profits slipped from £22.2m to £19.7m in the year to February 3 2018, while sales fell slightly from £1.65bn to £1.53bn.

It is planning the closure of its Somerset factory, less than two years after it opened, and has put staff into consultation having failed to operate the factory profitably. In 2005, the 200-year-old brand moved its Cumbria factory to East Asia.

Presca said: “I cannot wait to join an iconic and historic brand like Clarks and work closely with the board, the executive committee, its 13,000 people and operating partners across the world.

“Clarks faces the challenges of today’s competitive markets, changing distribution channels and the need to adapt to a rapidly evolving consumer environment but has the competencies and assets to return to sustainable growth and profitability in the course of the next few years.”

Clarks chair Tom O’Neill added: “I am pleased to welcome Giorgio to Clarks as our new chief executive. He brings a wealth of experience including a deep understanding of the footwear market. He will work together with interim chief executive Stella David to ensure a smooth transition over the coming weeks, after which Stella will return to her previous role as non-executive director.

“I would like to thank Stella for stepping in as interim chief executive at a challenging time for Clarks and for her tireless and engaging leadership in the role.”