B&Q this morning revealed a dramatic overhaul of its senior management team, resulting in Kevin O’Byrne taking the helm, boss Martyn Phillips leaving and three new board appointments. Retail Week talks to Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire about the changes.
Why have you restructured B&Q’s management?
It’s an attempt to strengthen the top team. [B&Q] is a business in good shape but it’s not making enough progress.
We’re not generating enough growth and there’s not enough forward momentum on the top line. Kevin’s appointment flattens the structure. We’re simplifying the business to make decisions faster. We’re streamlining the structure.
Does B&Q need a change in strategy?
The strategy is fine but it’s our ability to execute it. We’re not moving fast enough on new format stores. We weren’t moving at speed. We needed to reset and inject some talent.
There was an opportunity to bring [members of the] Screwfix team into B&Q which will help on omnichannel and logistics. Some of the Screwfix team came from B&Q. [New logistics and supply chain director] Dave Lowther is a B&Q vet.
We also needed a refocus on marketing. One of my particular things was trying to get the right level of marketeer for the business. Chris Moss is a class act, really experienced and will get us back on the front foot.
What areas of the business can be improved under the new structure?
Product, and I want us to make brave decisions on stock, price and promotion. It’s retail 101 rather than a change in strategy.
This is not a business in crisis. It’s me saying ‘come on guys, next level up please’.
Have you given the new team specific targets?
I’ve said ‘let’ see some sales growth’. The single objective is growth in volume. We also need to see a future direction. It will be six months before we see any signs [of change].