There are few more polarizing events in the calendar of a chief executive than the Annual General Meeting - and June’s job moves show staff often feel the consequences as well.
June’s job change highlights:
- Former My-Wardrobe chief executive David Worby joined shoe retailer Bata as multichannel director.
- Discount fashion retailer MandM Direct appointed ex-N Brown chief executive Alan White as chairman ahead of a planned IPO.
- M&S’s business development director Costas Antimissaris was appointed international director replacing Jan Heere.
- New Look hired Tesco group financial director Mike Iddon as its new chief financial officer.
- Tesco promoted Jill Easterbrook to the newly created position of Chief Customer Officer.
There can be few more polarizing events in the calendar of a chief executive than the Annual General Meeting. Deliver strong results and you get to bask in the acclaim of contented shareholders grateful for a return on their investment. Perform badly and a spell in the public stocks might seem a more appealing proposition than three hours spent defending your strategy in front of an audience baying for blood.
Spare a thought, then, for the Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips whose most critical shareholder also happens to be the business’s founder, Life President and a blunt Yorkshireman to boot. Sir Ken Morrison stuck the knife into Philips at the recent Morrisons AGM in Bradford by comparing his strategy to the manure produced by his herd of bullocks and cited a lack of leadership as one of a series of failings afflicting Morrisons. Philips remains in the hotseat for the time being despite almost 14% of shareholders opposing his re-election, however, the AGM was the last for Sir Ian Gibson who stepped down as chairman after eight years on the board. Morrisons staff are also set to share the cost of its current troubles after it announced that 2,600 jobs were to be lost as it looks to improve efficiency by reducing layers of in-store management.
Down in London, Philip Clarke was being given a similarly bumpy ride at Tesco’s AGM, not least from campaigners calling for Tesco to pay the living wage to its employees. Tesco’s share price fell to its lowest point in six years in June prompting some shareholders to openly question the previously unimpeachable judgment of Clarke’s predecessor, Sir Terry Leahy, in particular over his ill-fated sojourn in the US market. Clarke, meanwhile, faced accusations that Tesco’s leaders had become arrogant and had lost touch with their customers, a criticism he is seeking to address by restructuring Tesco’s senior marketing team to make the business more consumer-focused. The recently announced changes see Jill Easterbrook move into the newly created post of chief customer officer where she will take a strategic lead in the group’s marketing activities and customer communications. Matt Atkinson, previously chief marketing officer, has assumed the new role of chief creative officer in which he will focus on the launch of new products and services.
See above for last month’s job move highlights, and the table on the right for a complete list of who went where.
Tony Gregg is chief executive of the Anthony Gregg Partnership