It wasn’t just Justin King who announced he was leaving - January was a busy month for retail job moves.
It wasn’t just Justin King who announced he was leaving - January was a busy month for retail job moves. Some of the highest profile moves included Simon Herrick, Stacey Cartwright and David Adams. See the full list on the table, right.
1) Simon Herrick
Simon Herrick, chief financial officer at Debenhams, resigned with immediate effect.
2) Stacey Cartwright
Stacey Cartwright, formerly chief financial officer at Burberry, became chief executive at Harvey Nichols, replacing Joseph Wan.
3) John Walden
John Walden, whose record as managing director of Argos has been strong, will replace Terry Duddy as chief executive of Home Retail.
4) David Adams
David Adams became chairman at off-licence and convenience chain Conviviality Retail.
5) Paul Foley
Paul Foley joined Iceland as its international business direcor.
6) Darren Blackhurst
Former Matalan chief executive Darren Blackhurst joined B&Q as commercial director.
7) Paula Reed
Former Grazia style director Paula Reed has moved to Harvey Nichols, while former Financial Times deputy fashion editor Nicola Copping moved to Harrods.
The blurring of lines between retail and media has been a developing trend in recent years and one that has had a knock-on effect on recruitment strategies. As online fashion retailers in particular have sought to bring their customers original content they have made a concerted effort to recruit leading fashion writers and editors from the mainstream press.
You need only look at the success of Asos, whose magazine is one of the most widely read fashion titles in the UK, to appreciate the value to retailers of having an editorial voice of their own. It’s little surprise, therefore, that talent is flowing so freely between media and retail - ex-Grazia style director Paula Reed’s move to Harvey Nichols and Harrods’ capture of former Financial Times deputy fashion editor Nicola Copping to edit its online magazine are just two recent examples.
This month My-Wardrobe.com became the latest etailer to recruit from the fashion press with ex-Grazia deputy art director Sarah Shaw joining as head of design. It has also managed to lure Sacha Newall from the Times and Sunday Times as its new head of sales and marketing and Selfridges head of PR Sophie Headley to head up its communications.
With Sports Direct recently setting up its own sports news service and businesses such as M&S investing significantly in their editorial content we can expect more journalists to cross the divide in the months ahead.
This month also saw the beginning of the end of one of most successful relationships in retail as Justin King announced his decision to step down as Sainsbury’s chief executive in the summer. When King arrived in 2004 the business was suffering an identity crisis having seen Tesco sweep past it at the head of the UK grocery market. King’s gutsy response was to immediately announce an ambitious plan to ‘make Sainsbury’s great again’. Ten years on and with the business having delivered 36 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth, King’s work is done.
Speculation is already rife about where King will surface next, with reports inevitably linking him with the top job at M&S. What’s certain is that one of retail’s finest exponents will have no shortage of suitors when he chooses to re-enter the fray.
Tony Gregg is chief executive of the Anthony Gregg Partnership