Dixons Carphone is to cut hundreds of central office jobs as it seeks to become “one business” and make good the benefits of its merger, Retail Week has learned.

Carphone Warehouse managing director Jeremy Fennell will also leave at the end of the year.

Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock told staff today that it was proposed to remove 221 roles and that 294 people were at risk of redundancy.

Those affected work in the Acton head office, supply chain and operations, business to business and senior retail leadership teams. Customer-facing staff will not be affected.

Last week Baldock outlined his vision that Dixons Carphone’s purpose should be to ‘help everyone enjoy amazing technology’. He said then: “We will be one business, one business that’s truly joined up. We need to complete the merger and we need to do that to deliver that joined up offer to customers.”

For that to happen, he told colleagues today: “We must be joined up behind the scenes to give customers an easy end to end experience so they can enjoy their technology.”

Single commercial team

He proposes to create a single commercial team for Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World covering four categories – mobile, consumer electronics, white goods and computing.

Online teams will be brought together and senior retail leadership teams will be “cross-brand”.

In a memo to staff, seen by Retail Week, Baldock said: “I believe we’re doing the right thing for the long-term health of the business. That doesn’t make it easy, least of all for those affected.

“My commitment to those colleagues – we’ll do everything we can to support you through this, keep you informed and ensure you are treated fairly and with respect.

“In the meantime, as we take the painful but necessary steps to transform this business, we also need to perform along the way. We have to stay focussed on the customer, and on trading, particularly as we get closer to our most important time of year.

“The road to a much more successful future Dixons Carphone is sometimes a hard one, as today shows. But it’s the one we must take.”

Alex Baldock

“We need to keep the momentum building on our transformation, as increasingly we move from planning to action and then delivering our vision.

“The road to a much more successful future Dixons Carphone is sometimes a hard one, as today shows. But it’s the one we must take.”

He added: “The changes are also about making us more cost-efficient. If we’re going to bring amazing technology within everyone’s reach, then we need to be more affordable, and we need to invest in our colleagues and customers – in training, better IT, and other infrastructure improvements. We also need to create more value for our shareholders.

“These changes won’t come at the expense of customer experience. In fact, we’re going to be more cost-efficient and improve the customer experience at the same time.

“We’re removing layers of management and bringing senior managers closer to the customer. And to be clear, we’re not removing any customer facing roles in stores or in contact centres.”

Executive changes

As part of the changes, Dixons Carphone’s executive committee is being ‘refined’.

Baldock said that Antreas Athanassopoulos, the company’s chief customer officer, “will orchestrate how we can best match the right offers of products and services to the right customers in the right way”.

Chief commercial officer Steve Ager will lead the group’s “combined commercial function, responsible for how we range and price products for customers across all four categories, will own our relationships with suppliers, and will be responsible for ecommerce”.

Alan Ritchie, chief operating officer, will be responsible for customer-facing operations, including retail, supply chain, logistics, contact centres, business to business, and Ireland.

Jonny Mason, Rob Garner, Felix Stauber, Assad Malic, Nigel Paterson and Jaan-Ivar Semlitsch remain on the executive committee “with some amendments to scope”.

Baldock said: “Having successfully taken the Carphone Warehouse transformation to this stage, Jeremy Fennell has decided to leave the business at the end of the year.

“He will continue on in a key advisory capacity using his extensive knowledge, expertise and relationships to support Steve, Jonny and team with a successful transition.”

Dixons Carphone employs 28,000 people in the UK and 40,000 altogether.