Kingfisher UK and Ireland boss Euan Sutherland to focus on group strategy

DIY giant B&Q has appointed a chief executive as it seeks to free parent Kingfisher UK and Ireland boss Euan Sutherland to focus on strategic group commercial responsibilities.

B&Q operations director Martyn Phillips has been promoted to the new position of B&Q UK and Ireland chief executive, and will report into Sutherland. The change means Sutherland will now step back from the day-to-day running of the business and take on a more chairman-like role.

Phillips, who has been with Kingfisher for 17 years and has held roles including HR director, takes up the position immediately.

Sutherland - who joined Kingfisher in 2008 from Superdrug-owner AS Watson, where he was chief executive of its UK division - said the restructure would strengthen B&Q’s leadership team.

He said Phillips was “well placed to take on this newly created role in our leadership structure”. He added: “I am looking forward to this next phase in our strategy and development of the leadership team.”

Last summer Sutherland took on some additional group commercial responsibilities across Kingfisher when the retailer rejigged directors’ responsibilities to put more “management resource” behind its group sourcing drive.

Group sourcing is at the heart of the retailer’s long-term strategy for growth for the next 10 years, it revealed last month. Kingfisher wants to increase its own-brand and common ranges across the group, which comprises stores in France, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Spain and China.

B&Q said that, along with the renewed focus on his group commercial role, Sutherland would concentrate on sustainability.

B&Q insisted that Sutherland would “remain close to the B&Q business”. He is also chairman

of the B&Q board, as well as the boards of sister trade businesses Screwfix and TradePoint, which also fall under the Kingfisher UK and Ireland umbrella.

B&Q hopes to secure a replacement for Phillips by the summer and is searching internally and externally.

Retail Week Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said Phillips is well regarded and that the decision to enable Sutherland to focus on more strategic issues is a good one.

Clark said: “Retail is globalising and Kingfisher is a global operation trying to maximise efficiencies that that can bring.”

He said that trying to save on costs by making the most of economies of scale was essential for global retailers. “For retailers these days costs are rising faster than sales so it is something they really need to concentrate on,”he said.