Louise Barnes

Louise Barnes

Current position: CEO, Crew Clothing Company

Course: BCom, French, 1986


This mentor may be of interest to students of retail business and those with an interest in enterprise, business management, product and brand development / marketing.


Louise’s first job was on a graduate training scheme with the Burton Group ( today known as Arcadia), where she learned the basics of Buying and Merchandising. She then joined Monsoon in 1992, where she spent 11 years and eventually became Brand Director.

Her first role as a business leader came in 2003, when she joined Fat Face as CEO. A growing brand turning over c£20m at the time, Louise and her team opened c 25 stores per year, developed the online and catalogue business, extended the product range, established wholesale, licensing and an international business. Fat Face was sold twice to Private Equity investors, latterly to Bridgepoint in 2007 for over £350m.

After 7 years as CEO and two successful exits, Louise left to become Chairman of Joules, helping the founder to reshape the board and plan a strategy for growth. In 2010 she invested in Fenn Wright Manson alongside Darwin Private Equity, as Executive Chairman and spent 18 months developing the business.

For two years running her consultancy, Diagnosis Retail, she shared her experience and passion for all things retail, working with founders and private equity to get the best out of small and growing businesses. She is now firmly back in the CEO saddle, running Crew Clothing Company for another private equity fund and aiming to transform both the brand and the business. Louise is a strong believer in mentoring, and would be of particular interest to students of business, finance and management, and those who are interested in working in retail, business and finance.