We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Mark Sebba. Described by Dame Natalie Massenet as her “greatest ally”, the former Net-a-Porter CEO passed away on Monday at his home on Crete. An extraordinary business person, he not only grew the company to exceptional heights, but was also a longtime champion of entrepreneurs. He was held in the highest regard by colleagues and friends alike, and will be sorely missed by all who new him.
Sebba served as Net-a-Porter’s chief operating officer before assuming the role of CEO, and helmed the pioneering e-tailer from 2003 to 2014. During his time at the company, the former investment banker and finance director oversaw the launch of off-price site The Outnet, the menswear platform Mr Porter and the in-house clothing label Iris & Ink. He also presided over the acquisition of Shouke, to take the Net-a-Porter Group into Asia and China, the launch of the first retailing app for the iPhone in 2009, and the first fashion magazine for tablets. In 2010, when Richemont acquired a 93 per cent interest in the business, the company was valued at £350 million.
When he stepped down in 2014, Natalie and the Net-a-Porter staff staged an emotional farewell on his last day, with an elaborate musical send-off. The video of the event, set to Aloe Blacc’s 'The Man', went viral and to date has clocked up almost 1.3m views on YouTube.
After leaving the company, Sebba took on several board positions at companies both inside and outside the fashion industry, including the plus-size women's fast-fashion retailer Eloquii, the London-based wholesale flower delivery site Flowerbx, tech investment bank GP Bullhound and private equity firm LMS Capital. “Mark was one-of-a-kind; the most terrific man and a true leader in every sense of the word,” said Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, CEO and cofounder of Flowerbx. “He guided me and the team at Flowerbx with integrity, discipline and grace.” Sebba also carried out philanthropic work as a trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum and chairman of its commercial arm, V&A Enterprises, and served as group board chairman of Hyde Housing Association, which provides affordable housing in the southeast of England.
In November 2014, Sebba picked up the Fashion Retailing Personality of the Year award at the Drapers awards, alongside Natalie Massenet.
Our heartfelt condolences to his wife Anne, his three children, and his five grandchildren.