Carpetright has appointed Wilf Walsh as its new chief executive, following a management overhaul. Retail Week takes a look at what the analysts say.
“There is more blood on the boardroom carpet at Carpetright, after the news that Phil Harris is to retire after the September AGM at the ripe old age of 72. His son Martin Harris, the development director, is to go at the same time and Graham Harris (no relation), the chief operating officer, has gone after only seven months in the job and who’s this new chief executive Wilf Walsh? Well, we vaguely recall him from his days at HMV some 15 years ago, but since then he’s been in the betting business, with Coral and then the Dutch business Fortuna, so he is an unlikely choice to run a carpet retailer, albeit joining Carpetright has always been a bit of a gamble for executives, as former chief executive Darren Shapland can testify. City shorts will no doubt be tempted to gamble that Phil Harris may soon sell some of his big share stake in the business.” Nick Bubb, independent retail analyst
“These developments, in our view, mark the first steps of the Harris family extricating themselves from the company. The next steps could involve an orderly disposal of their shareholdings. We believe that the company’s conforming format is not effective enough against the independents, thus any incoming new management’s first priority will be to update and modernise the current concept. This is likely to involve significant capital expenditure. The current concept, in our view, is too focused on price and not aspirational enough for mainstream customer needs.” Freddie George, Cantor
“With most key operational roles being fulfilled by departing and departed board members, Wilf Walsh and Lord Harris will need to focus on building a strong retail team over the summer, including a new chairman. On that front, Chris Daniel (ex Dreams) is to join as sales director later this month and Jeremy Garrish remains head of buying (20 years service). Nick Worthington, also ex Dreams, was recently recruited to head up Carpetright’s European operations. No news on current trade is good news. We read a lack of current trading update in a positive light and assume Carpetright is on track to deliver sales and profits in line with current market expectations. We expect the sheer scale of change to unnerve shareholders, not least due to the new chief executive’s lack of big-box home-related retailing experience. It is therefore key that Carpetright bolster the retail board with the relevant experience in time for an orderly handover by September.” John Stevenson, Peel Hunt
Carpetright appoints new boss as management team overhauled
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Carpetright's management shake up: What the analysts say