Just two weeks ago I wrote that retailers would be queuing up to secure the services of Matt Davies following his departure from Tesco.

It now transpires that N Brown was the business that muscled its way to the front of the queue.

This week the online fashion and homewares retailer announced Davies as its new chairman, replacing another Tesco old boy, Andy Higginson.

“Any perception of a chairman as a sage old cove, often close to retirement, whose grandiose title masks a lack of real influence is long outdated”

That Davies has chosen a chairmanship for his next move may raise eyebrows in some quarters. Davies is still in his 40s, which in FTSE 250 terms is relatively young to be sat at the head of the boardroom table.

But any perception of a chairman as a sage old cove, often close to retirement, whose grandiose title masks a lack of real influence is long outdated.

These are demanding roles that require strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, a deep knowledge of the market and a sharp customer focus.

And with the governance of big corporations under intense scrutiny amid long-running debates over executive pay and diversity, the chairman should also be a skilled political and media operator, as well as a credible public face of the business.

Other opportunities

Davies looks like an ideal fit for a role that will also leave him scope to explore other opportunities outside of N Brown.

At one point during 2017, his predecessor Higginson held four chairman positions, including that of Morrisons, as well as being a non-executive director at Woolworths South Africa.

Davies is likely to find himself in similar demand for boardroom and consultancy roles given his impressive track record at Pets at Home, Halfords and, most recently, Tesco.

“These are exciting times for N Brown, which recently made a trio of senior executive hires”

As for N Brown, the counsel of Davies can only be of benefit to its highly regarded chief executive Angela Spindler, who led the business to another record-breaking Christmas in Q3.

These are exciting times for the retailer, which recently made a trio of senior executive hires. Phil Barnes joined the business this month as supply chain director and will be followed in April by Adam Warne as chief information officer, and Alyson Fadil as chief people officer.

With each of its power brands – JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo – in growth, the capture of Davies only cements the impression of a business that is going places.

Content provided by Anthony Gregg Partnership.

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You can call Tony Gregg on 01564 796830 or email him at tony@anthonygregg.com.

Founded in 2003 and located in Henley-in-Arden and London, The Anthony Gregg Partnership specialises in the consumer search market space.