Dixons Carphone’s top team has transformed beyond recognition as a mass exodus has paved the way for a fresh start at the retailer.
Former boss Seb James took a new job at Boots, chief finance officer Humphrey Singer is soon to join M&S and UK and Ireland boss Katie Bickerstaffe has secured a new role at energy firm SSE.
In the meantime, services boss Feilim Mackle quietly stepped aside, customer director Vic Self started a new job at M&S and Graham Stapleton, boss of Dixons Carphone’s Honeybee, left to run Halfords.
Deputy chief executive Andrew Harrison also stepped down from his role on the group’s board in December to concentrate on its struggling mobile phone business.
And now, a top-level reshuffle instigated by new boss Alex Baldock has prompted further departures.
As revealed by Retail Week earlier this week, group strategy director Andrew Lawley, chief marketing officer Neil Hollins and services chief executive Keith Jones are all set to leave next month.
So, you get the point.
But Bickerstaffe’s exit in particular represents a line in the sand for Dixons Carphone, as she was the last executive on the retailer’s board whose tenure pre-dated its 2014 merger.
The old guard, whose duty it was to execute the £3.7bn tie-up between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse – creating 3-in-1 superstores and bringing together back-office staff into one head office in Acton – have taken their bows.
And with the slate wiped clean, Baldock, who took the reins earlier this month, is free to set about putting his own stamp on the business.
Well, the former Shop Direct boss has wasted no time getting started.
With his feet barely under the table, Baldock has already taken strides to remodel the electricals retailer by stripping out its separate UK & Ireland and Group executive teams.
In its place, he has created a single, overarching leadership team – the group executive committee, dubbed ExCo.
With a host of fresh faces, Baldock’s ExCo aims to reduce silos, speed up decisions and make the group nimbler, which seems logical given the pace of change in retail.
“It’s hardly surprising. He was always going to come in and change everything,” a source close to the company says.
Closer to the customer?
Baldock has also been explicit about intentions to bring the business closer to the customer, and to this end swiftly appointed its first chief customer officer – Antreas Athanassopoulos, formerly boss of the retailer’s Greek business.
According to an internal memo seen by Retail Week, Baldock made the decision on the back of staff feedback that exposed a disparity between words and deeds.
Staff claimed that the business talks about putting the customer first, but “reality doesn’t always match the rhetoric”.
Baldock believes the newly created role will give the customer “a louder voice in the business” as it will bring together complementary functions.
Baldock, who analysts predicted would bring his data-expertise to the group, says his CCO will also work to “truly understand and anticipate” what customers want through “new levels of data, analytics and insight”.
The CCO role has been abandoned at some retailers as they seek to become more customer-centric across the board, but Baldock clearly sees a need.
Baldock has vowed to address a multitude of issues “in time”, such as the need to be simpler, clearer and faster, and better reap the benefits of its “massive opportunity” in services.
The new ExCo is a solid first step in the right direction, and evidence that Baldock is unafraid to do some bulldozing.
We have ”strengths competitors can only dream of”, he says, but he also points to a long road and “much hard work” ahead.
At least Baldock’s ExCo are setting off on the long journey together, with those who master-minded and executed the retailer’s merger moving on to pastures new.