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Kingfisher reveals Sir Ian Cheshire's successor

Sir Ian Cheshire is to be succeeded by Ms Véronique Laury, Chief Executive of Castorama France, before the end of the current financial year. He will retire from the Board on 31 January 2015.

This decision, reached during the regular succession discussions between the Board and Sir Ian, recognises that the next phase of Kingfisher’s evolution requires a significant leadership commitment and continuity. The next five years will be particularly busy as we deliver Group-wide best in class IT systems and omnichannel capabilities, expand Screwfix and Brico Dépôt into new markets, complete our common brands programme and, subject to completion, integrate Mr Bricolage with Kingfisher’s businesses in France.

With this in mind and with Sir Ian having already served 16 years in the business, 14 years on the Board and nearly seven as Group Chief Executive, all parties believed it was best to clarify succession sooner rather than later. Accordingly, Sir Ian will hand over the role of Group Chief Executive to Ms Véronique Laury following a hand over process in the coming months. Ms Laury has been with Kingfisher for 11 years and is currently Chief Executive of the Castorama business in France. She is a member of the Group Executive Committee and will join the Kingfisher plc Board ahead of taking up her new role.

Daniel Bernard, Kingfisher Chairman said: "It has been a pleasure to work with Sir Ian, and on behalf of the Board and our colleagues I want to thank him for his successful leadership. He has transformed Kingfisher into a stronger business with a bright future during a difficult economic time. During his tenure as Group Chief Executive Kingfisher’s reported sales grew 23%, adjusted profit before tax doubled and Kingfisher’s market capitalisation increased by £3.8 billion (+112%). Furthermore, £1.6 billion of financial net debt was eliminated leaving the business strong enough to commence a capital return programme to our shareholders in 2014, the first in Kingfisher’s history. He also leaves a strong sustainability legacy in Net Positive and an impressive management cadre throughout the business."

Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive said “It has been a privilege to lead Kingfisher and I am proud of our achievements. My primary aim on becoming Group Chief Executive almost seven years ago was to deliver a step change in the value of the business for our shareholders and I am delighted that this aim has been achieved. Having taken over the leadership role in the depths of the financial crisis I am proud that the Kingfisher of today is a much stronger business, with a more profitable and sustainable model. I owe a huge debt of thanks to all the 79,000 colleagues worldwide who helped make this happen. Looking ahead we have a clear path to follow. Helping our customers to have ‘Better Homes, Better Lives’ whilst driving further international integration and expanding our reach will deliver profitable growth in the future. Now is the right time to hand over to a new leader and I am delighted that Véronique, who I have worked closely with for over 11 years and know is superbly qualified for the job, has agreed to take over from me. I wish her and all our colleagues across the Group continued success.”

Ms Véronique Laury, Group Chief Executive Designate said “Kingfisher is a strong business, well positioned in the home improvement market and I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as Group Chief Executive. Building on Sir Ian’s legacy we will reinforce our purpose to support those who want to improve their homes. In addition we will continue to create value for our shareholders.”

Source : Kingfisher

10 September 2014

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