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Founder of online luxury retailer quits as big merger pends


London – Natalie Massenet, founder and chairman of U.K.-based online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter, unexpectedly resigned from the company just as it looks to become a global powerhouse.

The former fashion journalist is leaving as Net-a-Porter, which she launched in 2000, prepares to be purchased from Swiss parent company Richemont by Italian e-commerce retailer Yoox. The merger will create the world’s largest luxury e-commerce group.

Massenet was in line to become the executive chairman of the new merged company, which will be worth roughly $2.5 billion. However, Yoox founder Federico Marchetti will now hold the chief executive position. Media reports indicate Massenet told associates she was unhappy with being assigned a second-in-command role and felt she would have little direct responsibility in the new company.

“Following Natalie Massenet’s tendering of her resignation as executive chairman of the Net-a-Porter Group, Ms. Massenet will not be a member of the board of directors of the new group, which will result from the upcoming merger,” said Yoox in an official statement.

According to Bloomberg, Massenet has sold her stake in Net-a-Porter for $153 million. The Yoox-Net-a-Porter deal received approval from E.U. regulators earlier this week.

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