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Net-a-Porter founder set to bring ecommerce experience to British Fashion Council job

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Online entrepreneur Natalie Massenet has promised to bring her ecommerce experience to bear in her new role as the next chairman of the British Fashion Council.

Massenet, who founded Net-a-Porter, will take over as chairman of the BFC from January, replacing Harold Tillman who steps down after almost five years in the honorary role. As well as acting as an ambassador for the industry in the new position, she will remain executive chairman of the Net-a-Porter Group, which she founded and is now owned by Richemont.

“My experience is in merging extraordinary creative content with innovative global commerce,” said Massenet as she accepted the role. “From January, together with Caroline Rush and her team, I aim to apply these lessons to my new role, a role I take incredibly seriously.”

Massenet said that the council had built the profile of the British fashion industry worldwide and had the “best understanding of what our industry contributes to the UK economy and what a significant player the British Fashion Industry is and can continue to be.”

For its part, the British Fashion Council said it had approached Massenet for her reputation for innovation and creativity and her track record as an entrepreneur at Net-a-Porter.

"For nearly five years as chair of the British Fashion Council, I have seen the industry grow and develop – taking its role at the top of the fashion world both in terms of stature, and excellence," said Harold Tillman CBE and current chairman of the British Fashion Council. "Of course, I would not be comfortable moving on without securing a successor who I believe can take the baton and propel the BFC further forward. And I am delighted that Natalie Massenet will become our new chair from January 2013."

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: “The board are looking forward to welcoming Natalie to the organisation and working closely with her on our programme of development and activity over the next three years, both at home and abroad. I thank Harold for his incredible support and vision and for extending his initial three-year term to almost five to see us through a period of significant change.”

The announcement comes in a significant week for online fashion. Somerset, the new collection from designer Alice Temperley, designed for John Lewis, became the department store’s fastest selling brand ever, with some 56% of items sold on the first day selling online, according to the Telegraph.

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