Multichannel retail group Shop Direct has announced today that its CEO Mark Newton-Jones has decided to leave the company to pursue “new challenges in the medium term”.
Newton-Jones will remain in his position at the business, which owns brands such as Very.co.uk & Littlewoods.com, until July 2013 to ensure a smooth transition with his successor, and the process to find a suitable replacement is now reportedly underway.
Having held the top job for eight years, Newton-Jones has overseen the transformation of Shop Direct from a primarily catalogue-based business into multichannel operation, and report decent Christmas trading in the company’s last trading update.
“We have a great team at Shop Direct and the business outperformed in 2011,” the retail boss said.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Shop Direct immensely but now feel the time is right to seek new challenges. I will be fully focused to ensure a smooth handover and am committed to staying with the business for the next 18 months in what looks set to be a challenging year for all retailers.”
Earlier this month Shop Direct posted a nine per cent rise in total sales excluding VAT for the six weeks to December 31st 2011, however Newton-Jones warned at the time that much of this trading boost was due to last minute Christmas shopping and not representative of general business.
He anticipated subdued sales for the year ahead as the group looks to expand its businesses further overseas, and it will be some relief to the company’s management that he will delay his departure.
Last month Shop Direct suffered another high profile departure when Chief Operating Officer Dave Poole was poached by rent-to-own retail specialists Brighthouse.
A statement released by Shop Direct today thanked Newton-Jones for his dedication and commitment on behalf of its shareholders and stated that it will remain “business as usual” at the firm.