All change across the retail sector as Halfords brings in a new chief executive and Morrisons downsizes senior management.

Move of the month…

…for Jill McDonald, the McDonald’s UK chief executive and president North West Division, Europe who adds retail to a CV of industry sector experience that already includes fast-moving consumer goods, travel and foodservice. McDonald was in the running for the Halfords job when Davies was appointed in 2012 and she has clearly done plenty during that period to stay at the top of the board’s shortlist.

McDonald brings strong customer service credentials to a retailer that has obsessively put the customer first under outgoing chief executive Matt Davies. She has been central to softening the image of McDonald’s and making its restaurants more appealing places both to eat in and work in and her varied career spanning the likes of Colgate Palmolive and British Airways will give her a strong base of experience to call on in her new role.

  • For a comprehensive list of retail moves in March, see the table on the right.

Promotion of the month…

…goes to Simon Homes who becomes Paul Smith’s first ever creative director having previously headed up men’s design at the fashion retailer.

All change at…

Morrisons where new boss David Potts has wasted no time in wielding the axe. Among the raft of exits from the grocer’s executive team are retail director Martyn Fletcher, logistics director Neal Austin and customer marketing and digital director Nick Collard. The purge is part of Potts’s efforts to get Morrisons back to basics and suggests the former Tesco man will take no prisoners in his quest to return the grocer to good health.

Inevitable exit for…

…B&Q’s chief executive Kevin O’Byrne for whom the writing seemed to be on the wall as soon as Véronique Laury beat him to the top job at Kingfisher after former boss Sir Ian Cheshire stepped down in September. The departure of O’Byrne coincides with a restructure at B&Q which will involve the closure of 60 stores.

Switching roles…

…is Rexam’s group finance director Richard Smothers who is swapping cans for prams to become Mothercare’s new chief financial officer.

And it’s goodbye from…

…Andy Bond who hands the chairmanship of fast-growing cycling etailer Wiggle over to former Amazon executive Brian McBride.

Tony’s trends

It’s often the case that a struggling retailer will look to overhaul personnel in the hope that an injection of new blood will spur a turnaround in performance. This is certainly the case at Mothercare whose executive team has been reinvigorated as chief executive Mark Newton-Jones seeks to fight back against the march of competitors such as Kiddicare and Mamas & Papas.

The most eye-catching move sees Matt Stringer promoted to chief commercial officer from UK commercial director and by extension becoming Newton-Jones’s right hand man. The former M&S and Carphone Warehouse executive is regarded as a solid leader with strong multichannel skills which will be called upon as Newton-Jones seeks to transform Mothercare into a digital business.

With new faces also in charge of finance, operations, marketing, buying and HR functions it will be fascinating to track Mothercare’s performance over the coming months.

The Anthony Gregg Partnership

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