31 Jan 2012
Dixons Retail plc, one of Europe's leading specialist electrical retailing and services companies, announces the following Board changes:
John Browett will be leaving the company to take up the role of Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, based in California, USA. John will step down from the Group Board on 20 February 2012 and will leave the company on 20 April 2012, following a handover period.
Sebastian James will be appointed Group Chief Executive and will join the Group Board on 20 February 2012. Sebastian joined Dixons Retail in April 2008 and is currently Group Operations Director. He has played a leading role in delivering the Renewal & Transformation of the UK & Ireland business. Sebastian has worked very closely with John and as Transformation Director, was responsible for the development and implementation of the new store formats and propositions across the UK & Ireland business, which have been a cornerstone in improving the shopping trip for customers and of the Currys and PC World turnaround. In addition he was the architect of the improvements to the delivery, repair and services infrastructure as well as of the significant reduction in the costs of these operations. Prior to joining Dixons Retail he held a number of CEO roles for private-equity backed ventures. Early in his career he was Strategy Director at Mothercare plc and worked for Boston Consulting Group.
Katie Bickerstaffe has been appointed to the new role of Chief Executive - UK & Ireland, and will also join the Group Board on 20 February 2012. With Sebastian, Katie has delivered the turnaround of the UK & Ireland business, with particular responsibility for the launch of KNOWHOW, the store portfolio strategy, marketing, customer relationship management and Human Resources functions. More recently she has also been responsible for the e-commerce operations in the UK & Ireland. Prior to joining Dixons Retail in June 2008 she was Managing Director of Kwik Save and Group Retail Director and Group HR Director of Somerfield plc.
The Group continues to trade in line with the trends as reported in its peak trading statement issued on 17 January 2012.
Commenting on the changes John Allan, Chairman said:
"I would like to thank John for the very considerable contribution he has made to the Group through the Renewal & Transformation plan over the last four years. The Group is now in a significantly stronger position and can look to the future with confidence. I wish him well for the exciting opportunity ahead. We are fortunate to have in Sebastian and Katie, two extremely strong retailers with tremendous experience who will bring continuity to the progress we are making as a Group. I know that Sebastian shares John's relentless focus on improving the service that we provide for customers even further. I look forward to working with him in taking the Group through the next phase of its journey. Katie, with Sebastian, has transformed our business in the UK into a truly customer focused operation and I welcome her to the Board."
John Browett said:
"Dixons Retail is a great business, and with the support of a very strong management team we have made excellent progress in transforming the Group into the leading customer focused specialist electrical retailer in its markets. The opportunity ahead of me is an exciting one and I leave knowing that the Group has a bright future under strong leadership."
Sebastian James commented:
"I am very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for Dixons Retail. While the economic backdrop in many of our markets remains challenging, our unswerving focus on the customer has put us in a very strong position. We will continue to deliver a market beating combination of Value, Choice and Service for customers as well as continually improving the operational efficiencies in the business. We have made great strides in improving the business for customers, but I believe there remain many further improvements we can achieve. I feel very lucky to have such a strong team and am delighted that Katie has agreed to lead our UK & Ireland business. I enormously look forward to leading the Group through the next phase of its development."
For further information
Group Director of Communications, Dixons Retail
Head of Media Relations, Dixons Retail
020 7404 5959
Information on Dixons Retail plc is available at http://www.dixonsretail.com
Before joining Dixons Retail plc Sebastian James (45) was Chief Executive of Synergy Insurance Services Limited. He has been CEO of a number of private-equity backed ventures as well as Strategy Director at Mothercare plc. Early in his career he worked for both Bain and Boston Consulting Group. Prior to taking up the role of Chief Executive he held various roles within the UK & Ireland business including Transformation Director, Group Services Director and latterly Group Operations Director.
Sebastian holds a BA in Law from Oxford as well as an MBA from INSEAD. He is married with four children.
Key terms of the service contract for Sebastian are set out below:
£600,000 per annum
Sebastian is entitled to participate in the annual bonus scheme applicable to executives. This incorporates preset targets approved by the Remuneration Committee on an annual basis.
Sebastian will be eligible to participate in the following benefits: life cover; pension contribution; car allowance and medical insurance. Sebastian is also eligible to participate in the Group's share scheme as set by the Remuneration Committee.
Sebastian's service contract provides for a notice period of 12 months from Dixons Retail plc or of 6 months from him.
Information to be disclosed pursuant to 9.6.13(1) to (6) of the Listing Rules:
Sebastian James was a director of Silverscreen Limited which went into administration in 2006
Katie Bickerstaffe is a non-executive independent Director of Scottish & Southern Energy plc.