TJ Hughes chief executive Sue Tennant will leave the discount department store group at the end of the year, five months after private equity backers Silverfleet pulled a sale of the business.
Tennant, who joined TJ Hughes in 2007 following stints at furnishings chain Rosebys and value chain Ethel Austin, will be replaced by Beatrice Lafon, chief executive of Dutch value business Etam Group until July this year.
Prior to that Lafon was commerical director of Woolworths for an interim period in 2006 and she began her career in buying and merchandising roles at Marks & Spencer, Burton Group and River Island.
Silverfleet, which acquired 56-store TJ Hughes in November 2003 as part of a £56m management buyout, pulled a £70m sale of the business in June after failing to reach the asking price. At the time the decision was attributed to market conditions and sources said it was not a reflection on the discount department store’s trading performance.
Tennant, who was bought in to TJ Hughes on a short term contract to turn the business around and asked to stay on by Silverfleet after two years, told Drapers that she had decided to quit the department store following the failed sale.
Tennant, who was previously at TJ Hughes for 11 years until she joined Ethel Austin in 2000, has overseen the roll out of new stores and the development of the retailer’s online offer. She helped to increase profits at TJ Hughes by 29% to £6.8m in the year to January 30, 2010. Sales increased by 2% to £266.7m during the period.
Separately, Silverfleet is understood to be through to the second round of bids for footwear retailer Office, which is owned by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital investment vehicle.