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Kevin O'Byrne expected to step down as B&Q CEO

B&Q Glasgow

The head of B&Q UK is set to leave the DIY chain as part of a wider shake up of parent company Kingfisher.

The overhaul, to be announced next week, will see Kevin O'Byrne step down from his post as chief executive of B&Q UK, according to two people familiar with the situation, reports Andrea Felsted in London.

Mr O'Byrne missed out on the top job at Kingfisher to Véronique Laury, who was appointed as chief executive of the company in September, after Sir Ian Cheshire's decision to step down.

The move is part of a restructuring at Kingfisher, which will see B&Q be brought closer to Castorama, the French DIY chain, and under the direct control of Ms Laury.

Kingfisher declined to comment.

B&Q has struggled in the UK over recent years, amid the slump in the housing market that followed the financial crisis, and a move away from Britons carrying out home improvement projects themselves.

Under Sir Ian, the group sought to create more synergies between B&Q and Castorama, but Ms Laury is understood to believe that more can be achieved through joint buying and sourcing. She is understood to feel that consumers across the geographies in which Kingfisher operates have one goal in common - to make their living spaces more comfortable and attractive.

Analysts were not surprised by Mr O'Byrne's departure, given that he lost out on the top job to Ms Laury.

They suggested that Ms Laury could also attempt to tackle B&Q's portfolio of 360 large stores. Sir Ian had been trying to cut the size of some large stores.

Source : Fast FT

28 March 2015

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