Natalie Massenet has announced that she’s stepping down as executive chairman (chairwoman?!) of the company she founded, Rumours of the move have been rife since Net-a-Porter’s parent company, Richemont, announced a merger with Although Massenet was originally lined up to stay on the board of directors after the new collaboration, she has now severed all ties with the company. Speculation suggests that Yoox founder, Federico Marchetti is keen to seen NAP churn out profits similar to Yoox whereas Massenet’s interest lies in quality content thanks to her journalism background.

Massenet started NAP in 2000 after raising 1.2 million in start-up costs from her Chelsea flat. After using her designer contacts to persuade the big guns in fashion to sell on the site, the company turned a profit in 2004 with sales sky-rocketing from then on in.  However, in 2010 Massenet sold Net-a-Porter to Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont for a figure estimated at £50m, remaining involved with the company as executive chairman and an investor.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Natalie Massenet to detach herself from the brand she built up from nothing. But as the pioneer for online retail, something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll see from the fashion entrepreneur.