Poundland have been forced to appoint a new chairman following Andrew Higginson’s decision to move to troubled Morrisons.
Darren Shapland will take over the reigns at the discount store, which is in significantly better health than his predecessor’s new retailer. Poundland has just undergone a successful £750m float on the stock market, opened its first branch in continental Europe and plans 60 new stores this year.
Higginson’s departure comes fairly swiftly after the floatation, which was just four months ago, but with the process complete this shouldn’t prove a great problem. Shapland, formerly senior independent director at Poundland, has been at the company for over six months and chief executive Jim McCarthy has suggested he will make ‘a seamless transition into the chairman’s role’.
Shore Capital analyst Clive Black admitted that “the change is an unwelcome surprise for Poundland” but described Shapland as “highly respected with extensive high level retail and financial experience”, concluding he is “a tremendous replacement”.
This wealth of experience began in a senior role at Burton Group/Arcadia before he became the CEO of Carpetright in 2011, only to make a shock exit in 2013. A 5 year stint as chief financial officer at Sainsburys, which he left in 2010, will have given him a great deal of know-how in the supermarket sector. He also holds current non-executive roles at Ladbrokes and Wolseley.
With Poundland suited to current trends on the British high-street, Shapland was understandably ‘delighted to be appointed chairman’ and pledged to continue the development of the store.
Having only joined it February, Shapland’s has shot up the ranks at the company, but it seems all agree, pound for pound, he was the best man for the job.