Marigay McKee, the luxury fashion buyer powerhouse credited with helping to turn Harrods into one of the world's most successful luxury fashion department stores, has suddenly left her role at Saks Fifth Avenue.

McKee was taken on as Saks President, as the store hoped to attract a younger audience and inject new life into its fashion offering. McKee has now left the retailer according to a statement issued on Thursday, which noted that the shock departure was "based on mutual agreement with the company." 

The replacement for McKee has already been announced as Marc Metrick, who is currently the executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Saks parent company Hudson's Bay Company. Metrick spent 15 years at Saks before heading to HBC in 2012, and was instrumental in helping HBC to acquire Saks. "It is not often that one has the opportunity to lead the company where they started and grew up," said Metrick in a statement announcing his new role. "Saks Fifth Avenue has played such a pivotal role in shaping who I have become as an executive, and I cannot be more excited than to lead Saks Fifth Avenue."

McKee was scheduled to give a talk at New York University titled 'What it means to be president of Saks Fifth Avenue' next week, which suggests that her departure was an unplanned one. There is no word on whether this talk will still go ahead at present.

As to the reasons for this sudden shake-up and shock departure, according to a source: "There was never a question of taste level or where she wanted to take the business. She is a very smart, talented lady," said someone close to Saks. "Culture and fit were the challenge. They saw that almost from day one."

It was McKey's management style that led to issues according to reports: "She was tough on talent," said a source. "A lot of very good people, merchants and other functions, left. Stylistically, it just didn't work."

By her own admission, McKey has stated in the past that she is "usually too honest for my own good."

In an interview after one year at Saks, McKey was asked what was the biggest surprise of the job, she replied: "It hasn't been the long hours - New York never sleeps. I get that. It wasn't that the work is hard. It wasn't the size of the pie. I definitely thought getting new brands would be among the toughest things, the brand matrix. But as a Brit coming to America, it's the culture. Fitting into the culture. Having people understand you. Not second-guessing. Trying to understand. How to best fit in. We speak the same language, but we are separated by an ocean and a different sense of humour."

There is currently no official statement from McKey or what her next role will entail. Buro 24/7 Middle East will keep you posted on this story as it develops...