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Mothercare starts search for CEO as Gordon exits


Baby and parent products retailer Mothercare is today starting the search for a new CEO after the departure of Ben Gordon was announced yesterday afternoon.

On the back of last week’s profits warning from the business, the long-serving boss, who has held the role for almost nine years, revealed that he will exit the company on the date of its interim results announcement on November 17th 2011.

Although boasting a profitable international business, which Gordon has helped grow to nearly 1,000 stores, Mothercare’s UK arm has struggled in recent years in the face of growing competition from online retailers and the major grocers.

Earlier in 2011 the business announced that it plans to close around 110 of its 353 high street stores in Britain in an attempt to reduce costs by around £18 million.

The plan, as stated in May, is to focus attention on the retailer’s online, wholesale and international operations.

Former Whitbread boss Alan Parker, who replaced Ian Peacock as Mothercare’s non-executive Chairman in August, will lead the search for a new CEO as he holds fort in the boardroom in the wake of Gordon’s departure.

Mothercare’s share price jumped up 9.2 per cent following yesterday’s news, which retail analyst at Arden Partners Nick Bubb described as “odd” considering the problems still facing the company’s UK market in the run-up to Christmas.

On Gordon’s exit itself, he added: “It is not too surprising to see the CEO of Mothercare fall on his sword, given the massive scale of the downgrades last week, following the Q2 profit warning and the inevitable slashing of the dividend that is to come.

“Gordon has done a great job on growing the overseas business, but the way the core UK business has moved into loss was clearly unacceptable to the tough new Chairman, Parker, and some human sacrifice was called for.”

During his tenure as Mothercare CEO, Gordon oversaw the acquisition of toy retailer Early Learning Centre in 2007, but the major achievement of his time with the company was establishing it as a global retail brand.

The UK firm has 969 own and franchised stores overseas, operates in 55 countries and is expected to see international retail sales grow by around 15 to 20 per cent this year off the back of a net 75 stores opening in foreign markets.

Commenting yesterday, Parker said: “We are grateful to Ben for the enormous change and improvement he has brought to Mothercare.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Ben for his significant contribution to Mothercare and we wish him every success in the future.”

Published on Wednesday 12 October by Editorial Assistant

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