- McColl’s boss and founder James Lancaster to stand down
- Lancaster will become the c-store chain’s non-executive chairman
- McColl’s continues to eye growth as it targets 1,000-strong c-store estate
McColl’s veteran chief executive James Lancaster is stepping down from his role at the retailer he founded more than 40 years ago.
Lancaster, who launched the convenience specialist back in 1973, will remain at the helm until a replacement is appointed. He will also take on the role of non-executive chairman until April 2017.
McColl’s started as Mayfair Vending but expanded into convenience stores when it acquired Forbuoys in the 1990s.
Lancaster became managing director for the group in 1984 and chief executive in 1990, leading two separate management buyouts in 1995 and 2005.
McColl’s floated on the London Stock Exchange in February 2014 and the following month, Lancaster revealed he would retire within two years of its IPO.
Earlier this year he bullishly told Retail Week that the retailer had the “financial firepower” to “compete with anybody” following its float and in August agreed an amended £85m revolving credit facility for two years to support its growth.
Lancaster said: “I have enjoyed my time as chief executive of McColl’s and I am very proud of our many achievements.
“With our goal of 1,000 convenience stores now well in sight, I believe the time is right for me to step down as chief executive”
James Lancaster, McColl’s
“We have transformed the group into a true convenience business with a strong market position, having grown our convenience store base from nothing to 887 stores. I have led the business through two MBOs, numerous acquisitions and in 2014 a successful IPO, since when we have accelerated our convenience development strategy and made tremendous progress on introducing food to go.
“With our goal of 1,000 convenience stores now well in sight, I believe the time is right for me to step down as chief executive.
“I am delighted to take on the role of non-executive chairman and I look forward to working with the new chief executive in due course, and to developing other business opportunities.”
Interim chairman Sharon Brown will remain in her role until Lancaster takes up his new position. McColl’s has also launched a hunt for an independent non-executive director to help “support the growth of the business.”
Brown said: “The appointment of a new chief executive and James as non-executive chairman will deliver an orderly succession.
“James has been instrumental in the growth of McColl’s so far and I have no doubt that given his knowledge of the food retailing sector and the business, he will continue to make a valuable contribution.”