has appointed Mark Higgins as chief financial officer in order to lighten the load of Steve Caunce following the retailer’s flotation.

  • separates dual chief operating officer and chief financial officer role
  • Etailer decides move is necessary following float and aggressive expansion
  • has had a turbulent year after its IPO, which has included a profit warning

Caunce initially held the combined role of chief operating officer and chief financial offer, but is dropping the latter responsibility and will remain on the board as chief operating officer.

Higgins has already been supporting Caunce in his duties after joining in July 2011 from Enterprise Managed Services. He also held senior roles in the Caudwell Group, which was Phones 4u founder John Caudwell’s company.

Higgins will step up to the new role and take a place on the board on August 1. chairman Richard Rose said: “With the financial reporting and corporate governance requirements of a public company and the increasing scale and complexity of Ao’s operations, the board has decided it is now appropriate for the chief operarting officer/chief financial officer role to be separated. 

“Following a thorough selection process, the board has determined that Mark has the relevant skills and experience for the role of chief financial officer and his existing relationships with stakeholders and knowledge of the business will help strengthen the effectiveness of the board.”

Profit warning

The changes are designed to allow Caunce to dedicate his attention to operational matters, which are increasing as the retailer expands abroad and launches into new product categories.

Following’s flotation last year the retailer was forced to issue a profit warning, which it blamed on sales growth suffering from a drop off in publicity following its high-profile float. boss John Roberts has also revealed the retailer has found market conditions in the UK increasingly hard due to a resurgent Dixons Carphone.