Helena Helmersson has been appointed as new CEO of H&M, the Swedish fashion chain announced at the same time as its (good-looking) annual results. Her predecessor, Karl-Johan Persson, will be chairing the board of directors from now on.
First female CEO
H&M's current board president, Stefan Persson, will be stepping down and succeeded by his son Karl-Johan. COO Helena Helmersson will be promoted to CEO, which signals the first time that the executive power in the fashion group will be held by a woman.
Helmersson has been at the company for more than twenty years and started her career in the purchasing department, climbing the ladder to become sustainability manager and, a little more than a year ago, operational director.
At the same time, H&M announced its results for 2019, and they looked quite good as turnover rose by 11 % to 232.76 billion Swedish crowns (21.9 billion euros). Excluding exchange rate fluctuations however, growth would have been 'only' 6 %. Despite rising prices, H&M succeeded in expanding its market share. Moreover, the group's online sales went op by 24 %.
As profit before taxes went up 11 % to 17.39 billion crowns (1.6 billion euros), the group will invest 86 million crowns (8 million euros) in HIP, the programme through which the fashion group shares part of its profits with its employees.
Next year, the group hopes to open 200 stores in Asia, Eastern Europe and South-America. However, 175 stores in Western Europe, the United States and China will have to close, leaving a net store opening rate of only 25. For the new year, H&M aims to achieve a turnover growth of 10 to 15 %.