Boohoo gets new CEO John Lyttle from Primark
In a surprise move, Boohoo Group has announced a new CEO with current co-CEO Carol Kane set to stand down as part of a board re-alignment. But Kane will remain heavily involved with company and will take on a new role.
But what’s particularly interesting is where her successor comes from. New chief executive John Lyttle joins from Primark, which means he's moving from a giant fast fashion operation to another fast fashion leader, but he's also moving from one that has no online retail operations to one that is online-only.
That's a big step both for Lyttle and for Boohoo, which owns the Boohoo, Boohooman, PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands.
The big change doesn't happen until March next year with Lyttle currently COO of Primark Stores Limited and clearly having a long notice period included in his contract.
Boohoo said that during his eight-year tenure at Primark, turnover has grown by 158% to over £7bn and operating profit has grown by 116% to £735m (to the year ended 16 September 2017). His earlier career involved senior roles at Matalan and the Arcadia Group.
The company also said that his appointment is “a key constituent of the group's positioning for its next stage of growth and will be accompanied by a number of changes to the existing main board roles, all of which are designed to support the journey of the group through its further international expansion.”
Mahmud Kamani, currently co-CEO, will become executive chairman next year with his focus and responsibilities to evolve “more towards the long-term strategic direction for the Boohoo group and away from the day to day running of the business.”
Carol Kane stays on the main board in an executive role and will assume the title of group co-founder and executive director with effect from next March. She “will continue to lead the vision for the group's creativity and multi-brand strategy focused around the positioning of the group's brands and overseeing the development of the product proposition.”
Current non-executive chairman Peter Williams will step down next year as all the changes take place.
In a joint statement, the two current CEOs talked up the importance of attracting a strong candidate such as Lyttle and said that they are "convinced he has the necessary skills to complement what we already have and take the group on to its next stage of growth. Both of us remain totally committed to the business and will ensure a measured and careful handover.”
Boohoo has achieved exceptional growth in recent years and this has driven it share price ever higher, and while the share price has faltered in recent periods, the company remains more highly valued than most of it stock exchange peers.
Primark meanwhile, has been the growth engine for its parent company Associated British Foods, so the combination of talent from the two firms certainly holds out plenty of promise for the future.
And Boohoo will reward Lyttle in line with his track record and future achievements. He will have an annual salary of £615,000 and an annual bonus of up to 150% of his annual salary, as well as company shares.
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