Focus appoints new MD after board revamp

DIY group Focus Wickes has revamped its board following a business review, installing former GUS executive Steve Johnson as managing director of the£800 million turnover Focus chain.

Johnson, previously sales, marketing and strategy director at GUS's fulfilment arm, Reality, will take up the role in the New Year.

He replaces David Pearson, who takes up the new role of group commercial director. Johnson, placed by City headhunter Heidrick & Struggles, arrives at a crucial time for 289-store Focus as the DIY sector prepares for change after Argos's£900 million acquisition of Homebase earlier this month.

Focus Wickes chairman and chief executive officer Bill Archer said: 'I believe Steve will provide the right combination of commercial acumen, customer orientation and concentration that is required to take the Focus business onto its next stage of development.'

Prior to GUS, Johnson worked at Asda during its turnaround period, where he rose to become marketing director before joining Reality two years ago.

As group commercial director, Pearson will be responsible for joint buying synergies, global sourcing and liaison with trading and managing directors at Focus and Wickes.

Barry Norris, group chief operating officer, retires at the end of this month and there will be no immediate replacement. Group corporate development director Jim Lowe is taking a part-time special projects role.