House of Fraser boss Nigel Oddy is the latest executive to exit the department store; Jon Rudoe leaves Sainsbury’s for bespoke role at Shop Direct

Nigel Oddy resigns from House of Fraser

House of Fraser chief executive Nigel Oddy

Nigel Oddy will remain with House of Fraser until a replacement is found in the New Year

All is clearly not well at House of Fraser where Nigel Oddy’s resignation this week marked the latest in a line of senior manager departures.

Although Oddy will remain with the business until a replacement chief executive is found in the New Year, the timing of his exit at the start of the most important month of the year suggests there has been a serious breakdown in personal relations with bosses at Sanpower, House of Fraser’s majority shareholder.

Challenging work environment

Press reports suggest the lack of promised capital investment by Sanpower has been a source of tension between the retailer’s UK management team and its Chinese owners.

Yuan Yafei, Sanpower’s self-made billionaire chairman, is known as a larger than life character and it looks from the outside as though the dynamic between House of Fraser and Sanpower bosses, coupled with the physical distance between them, has created a challenging working environment.

Oddy aside, the list of senior people to have departed House of Fraser in 2016 is extensive, worryingly so for a business that recently warned of a “very challenging retail environment”.

Executive departures

Chief customer officer Andy Harding, director of global multichannel trading Martin Francis, clothing and accessories boss Jackie Hay, and head of home, food and beauty Ysanne Jenkins have all left the group since the start of the year.

Commercial and logistics director Ray Kavanagh is also believed to be leaving the business, while finance director Mark Gifford exited back in 2015.

It seems inevitable the search for a new chief executive will focus on external candidates given the internal upheaval over recent months

Oddy took up the post less than two years ago having previously been the retailer’s chief operating officer. He has a wealth of experience in the sector, splitting his career to-date between two retail giants – House of Fraser and M&S – and his services will be in high demand in the New Year, if not before.

As for House of Fraser it seems inevitable the search for a new chief executive will focus on external candidates given the internal upheaval over recent months. The search will almost certainly have an international focus and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an unfamiliar name brought in to replace Oddy, in the vein of Sergio Bucher at Debenhams.

Jon Rudoe shops direct for bespoke role

Elsewhere this week, the management reshuffle at Sainsbury’s following the Argos acquisition continues with digital and technology director Jon Rudoe leaving to join Shop Direct.

This feels like a great appointment by Shop Direct, which plans to create a new role for Rudoe as retail and technology director as it seeks to merge the two teams.

Rudoe’s is one the most respected names in digital retail and he seems a perfect fit for an ambitious and progressive online retailer like Shop Direct.

NameJob RoleCompany ExitingCompany JoiningJob Role
Josh Lieberman Senior vice president of digital marketing Internal promotion Barneys New York Executive vice president of digital
Kevin O’Byrne Chief executive Poundland Sainsbury’s Chief financial officer
Peter (PJ) Davis Chief operating officer Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase UK & Ireland managing director
Rodney Boys Chief financial officer Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase Finance director
Craig Castelino National category manager Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase General manager of merchandise
Shane Mealor Visual merchandise manager Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase General manager of store development
Craig Wallace   Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase General manager of operations
Keith Murray National adverising manager Internal promotion Bunnings Homebase General manager of marketing
Andrew Mason Property director Halfords Bunnings Homebase General manager of property
Martina Kay     Bunnings Homebase General manager of human resources
Dean Drew Country director Presense Blackwell’s Sales and marketing director
Tanya Lawler Vice president Ebay UK    
Nigel Oddy Chief executive House of Fraser    
Jon Rudoe Digital and technology director Sainsbury’s Shop Direct Retail and technology director


 

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