House of Fraser Chief Executive to step down amongst series of management changes

Wednesday, 18 February 2015
John King, Chief Executive Officer at department store group House of Fraser is set to exit his role after a tenure of eight years as the group makes a series of changes amidst its management team following the sale to Chinese consortium Nanjing Xinjiekou last year. King is to be succeeded  by HoF's current Chief Operating Officer Nigel Oddy but will remain on board as a non-executive director on the group's board in order to ensure a smooth transition and to offer guidance on "the future strategic development of the business."

"It has been an honour to act as CEO for House of Fraser over the last eight and a half years and to work with such a talented team of colleagues and partners. I am extremely pleased with everything we have achieved as a team, evidenced by our record Christmas trading period and strong performance in January," commented King in a statement on his exit.

"When I joined the business in 2006, we set out to create the UK and Ireland’s premium department store group, and also worked to develop a strong multi-channel and premium branded offering. House of Fraser is now a much stronger business and is well positioned to enter the next exciting stage of its development as we look to build the brand internationally. I believe now is the right time to hand over the reins to Nigel, with whom I have worked closely over the last eight years. Nigel is the right person to lead House of Fraser into its next phase of growth."

House of Fraser announces changes to management team

Oddy, who first joined the team at HoF in January 2007 after it was acquired by its former owners the Highland consortium, brings with him over 35 years of experience within the retail sector, primarily from former roles he held at British department store group Marks & Spencer, where he works across a number of division including buying, merchandising and retail. "It is a real privilege to be appointed to lead such a strong multi-channel business and team of people," said Oddy on his new role at HoF.

"I look forward to building on John’s strategy to drive international expansion and continue our investment in our stores, brands and our multi channel offering. We have already agreed locations to expand the brand in China, with three stores due to open over the next two years, and plan to open further new stores in the Middle East with our franchise partner Retail Arabia. In addition, we will continue to focus on our strategic pillars to enhance our premium department store positioning."

In addition to appointing Oddy as its new CEO, House of Fraser also announced the appointment of Frank Slevin as Executive Chairman of the group, following the retirement of former chairman Don McCarthy last September."I look forward to working closely with John in his non-executive board role and will both seek and welcome his counsel," said Slevin. "Nigel is an outstanding retailer, with experience in driving international expansion and we believe his knowledge of House of Fraser and relationships with brand partners will be invaluable as we open new stores in China and the Middle East."

Following Oddy promotion to the role of CEO, together with Mark Gifford, Chief Financial Officer at HoF, the two revealed a series of changes within the management team of the group. Peter Gross, current executive director for retail operations will fill Oddy former role as COO, Andy Harding, current executive director for multichannel has been promoted to CCO and Jackie Hay, executive director for menswear and childrens wear has been promoted to executive director for apparel and accessories.

In addition, Ray Kavanagh, current director of finance has been promoted to executive director of commercial, Ysanne Jenkins, current executive director home and food to executive director for home, beauty and food and Tony Carr has been named executive director for international development and logistics.

Photo: Frank Slevin, John King and Nigel Oddy.

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