Travis Perkins-owned DIY chain Wickes is to hire a new managing director as incumbent Jeremy Bird is promoted to chairman across the building group’s retail businesses

Bird will take on the newly created overarching role as part of a management restructure so he can focus more on its strategy in the DIY sector. Focus DIY collapsed last month, as revealed by, and Wickes snapped up 13 stores, spending £8.4m.

Bird, former group marketing director at Wickes, is leading an external hunt and will remain in the position until a new boss is found.

Bird said he would be taking his time to find the right candidate. “We’re not in a big rush,” he said. Travis Perkins is restructuring into four divisions, including retail, which also comprises Tile Giant and Toolstation.

He said the newly integrated retail arm will make the most of synergies across the three businesses, in particular back office, fulfilment and sourcing.

However, he added that each will be run separately by Tile Giant managing director Andy Morrison, and Toolstation founder Mark Goddard-Watts respectively.

Bird said Wickes may take more Focus stores after being approached by landlords. “If the deal’s good enough we’ll be interested in some more,” said Bird.

Wickes has performed robustly in recent years, notching up a like-for-like increase of 1.9% in the 17 weeks to April 30.

  • Administrators of Focus will close 122 of its shops from June 19 to June 26. The closing dates for the remaining stores is unknown.