Matalan's Sutherland switches to Superdrug

Matalan's retail operations director Euan Sutherland has been poached by Superdrug to head a strengthened management team as chief operating officer.

Sutherland's newly-created role will involve responsibility for trading, central operations and stores.

He will report to Philip Ingham, chief executive officer of parent AS Watson Health and Beauty UK.

Sutherland replaces managing director Gerard Hazelebach - seconded to Superdrug following the acquisition of Kruidvat in 2002 - who will return to the parent company to work on other projects.

Meanwhile, Gary Cormack, formerly director of store format development at Boots, joined Superdrug this week as commercial director. He will report to Sutherland, who starts on September 6.

Sutherland had been at Matalan for two and a half years. He said his move was triggered by the opportunities at Superdrug. 'It's a very exciting time. AS Watson is a global retailer and is expanding very rapidly,' he explained.

A Matalan spokeswoman said the retailer had a strong stores team and was not looking for a replacement.

Three regional directors - Craig McGregor, Alan Johnson and Mike Jeans - will report directly to Matalan finance director Phil Dutton.

Sutherland's departure from Matalan comes in the wake of speculation that the retailer might be sold or bought out. His departure suggests this is unlikely, and observers say he would probably have stayed at Matalan to participate in a buy-out if it was on the cards.

- Asda's market share has surpassed Matalan's, according to Fashion Trak figures. In the 12 weeks to June 27, Asda's share of total clothing sales was 3.1 per cent, while Matalan's was 3 per cent.