Long-serving retail boss Lord Harris is to step down from his role as CEO of carpet & flooring specialist Carpetright, it has been announced today.
Harris, who founded the business in 1988, will be replaced in the CEO role by former Sainsbury’s director Darren Shapland as of next week but will remain as the retailer’s Chairman.
The announcement comes just weeks after Carpetright issued its seventh profits warning in just over a year, as its sales continued to slump due to a depressed consumer market.
Shapland is currently a non-executive director at the business and has previously spent three years as its Finance Director, while he is also currently Chairman of Sainsbury’s Bank having been the supermarket chain’s Chief Financial Officer & Development Director between 2005 and 2001.
Commenting on the decision, Lord Harris said: “I am delighted that Darren has agreed to become Chief Executive of Carpetright. He was an outstanding Finance Director of the Group from 2002 to 2005 and knows our business well.
“Since leaving Carpetright he has had extensive experience at J Sainsbury plc, first as Finance Director and then as Group Development Director. I am confident he will make a huge contribution to the future of the business.”
As part of the management reshuffle Baroness Noakes, the retailer’s senior independent director, will assume the role of Deputy Chairman , with current executive directors Andy Corden & Claire Balmforth standing stand from the board with immediate effect whilst still retaining their executive responsibilities.
Harris is one of the most well-respected retail bosses within the industry but with sales falling a further 4.2 per cent year-on-year for the 11 weeks to April 14th 2012 and full-year profits now expected to reach between just £3 million to £4 million, the business has decided it needed to make a change.
During his time in the retail business Lord Harris has been actively involved in programmes to help young people find employment, and explained in an interview with Retail Gazette last year how he was pledging some of his own money to help communities affected by the summer riots which swept the country just weeks beforehand.
Baroness Noakes added: “The non-executive directors have been discussing the Chief Executive succession with Lord Harris for some time and are very pleased that Darren has agreed to take on the role.
“Lord Harris has been in the carpet business for over 50 years and he has built Carpetright from scratch since 1988.
“He is a hard act to follow and the board is also pleased that he will stay with the company as Chairman.”