It emerged this week that two of Pep&Co’s most senior executives have handed in their notice and will leave the retailer in May.

Managing director Adrian Mountford and trading director Cathy Haydon have been with the business for almost four years and played a key role in the rapid expansion of its store estate, including shop-in-shops within Poundland and Dealz stores.

“One thing that catches my eye is that neither Mountford nor Haydon has a new role lined up, according to Retail Week sources”

Both are experienced retailers who can list senior positions with a number of well-known brands on their CVs, including Matalan and Sainsbury’s in Mountford’s case, and M&S and Tesco in Haydon’s.

One thing that catches my eye is that neither Mountford nor Haydon has a new role lined up, according to Retail Week sources.

Whether their exit relates in any way to the accounting scandal that has engulfed parent company Steinhoff remains to be seen – Pep&Co insists not – but the fact the pair have a long working relationship that pre-dates Pep&Co makes their next move all the more intriguing.

Mountford was buying director at BHS in the early 2000s at the same time as Haydon was merchandising director, meaning the two will have worked closely together in integral roles.

Shared history

The fact their tenures at Pep&Co so closely overlapped suggests Mountford and Haydon have a strong working relationship, and I just wonder whether the timing of their departure – and the fact they reportedly have no jobs lined up – implies they may be ready to strike out together in a new venture.

In any case, it will be interesting to see where they surface next and whether they are reunited for a third time.

As for Pep&Co, the company says the search for a new managing director and trading director is ongoing, with announcements expected in the coming weeks.

Will the company be able to attract the very top calibre of people for these roles? I’m not so sure.

My worry for Pep&Co is that Steinhoff’s accounting problems have the potential to act as a deterrent to candidates.

Retailers at the very top of the industry have a finite amount of time to make their money and there must be serious questions about the ability of Pep&Co’s owner to offer the kind of competitive bonuses and share options that senior executives expect.

That said, there will still be talented, up-and-coming retailers who will be hungry to prove themselves in a senior role, in which case the chance to put their mark on a growing business will have its appeal.

Major moves this month

NameJob roleCompany exitingCompany joiningJob role
Oliver Meakin Chief executive Maplin Gaucho Chief executive
Graham Harris Commercial director Internal promotion Maplin Chief executive
Ben La Grange Chief financial officer Steinhoff    
John Browett     BillSaveUK Chief executive
Richard Jones Merchandise trading director Target Debenhams Global sourcing trading director
Humphrey Singer Group finance director Dixons Carphone Marks & Spencer Chief finance officer
John Colley Chief executive Hobbycraft Kingfisher Group trading director
Derek Harding Alongside current responsibilities as group finance director Shop Direct Interim chief executive
Judith McKenna Chief operating officer, US division Internal promotion Walmart International chief executive
Dave Cheesewright President and chief executive of Walmart International Walmart Retiring from a full-time role, but will continue to do project work for Walmart
Sharry Cramond Chief marketing officer Southeastern Grocers Marks & Spencer Marketing director, Food & Hospitality
Nathan Ansell Marketing director, Customer & Loyalty Internal restructure Marks & Spencer Marketing director, Clothing & Home
Rob Weston Global brand & marketing director Internal restructure Marks & Spencer Marketing director, Brand & Customer
Alex Baldock Chief executive Shop Direct Dixons Carphone Chief executive
Seb James Chief executive Dixons Carphone Walgreens Boots Alliance VP and managing director, Boots
Steve Carson Director of retail and customer operations Sainsbury’s Argos Holland & Barrett Managing director
Mark Gifford Chief financial officers at both Game Digital and Superdry Group Game Digital    
Nick Wharton Chief financial officer Superdry Group Retiring  
Ed Barker Director of group finance Sainsbury’s Argos Superdry Chief financial officer
James Mooney Trading director Topshop Primark Merchandising director for womenswear
Craig Castelino General manager of merchandise Bunnings    
Damian McGloughlin Retail director B&Q Bunnings Interim UK merchandising director
Jayne Demuro Retail managing director Soho House Fenwick Buying and merchandising director
Adrian Mountford Managing director Pep&Co    
Cathy Haydon Trading director Pep&Co    

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